Daily Express
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State Government 'no' to closing resorts on remote isles

Published on: Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: The State Government has shot down the proposal to close remote island resorts in Sabah's east coast in the wake of repeat kidnappings since the late 1990s that have also resulted in loss of lives.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman gave this assurance in the wake of Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar's suggestion that far-flung resorts in Sabah cease operations following the latest abduction by a kidnap-for-ransom group at Singamata Adventure and Reef Resort in Semporna last Wednesday.

"We will not close the island resorts. I will tell Wan Junaidi that," he said, in giving the assurance, while speaking at the launching of Sabah Credit Corporation's (SCC) RM1.5Billion Sukuk Musharakah programme at Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu, Monday.

Wan Junaidi, who has been criticised by both the Barisan Nasional and opposition for making the suggestion, was reported as saying "if it were up to me, I would say resorts on small, isolated islands should be closed."

"No one can guarantee the safety of these places when they are situated far off the coast.

The police and military can't be there all the time," he had said in response to the latest incident.

The incident, at the floating resort not more than 1.5km and some 10 minutes boat ride from Semporna town, saw 29-year-old Chinese tourist Gao Hua Yuan and 40-year-old Filipina resort employee Marcy Dayawan abducted by a group of seven armed men from the Philippines, suspected to be Abu Sayyaf.

Meanwhile, Sabah Matta Chairman Robert Chong said it would be good for all stakeholders if the Deputy Minister retracts and withdraws his statement as it would have serious repercussion on business confidence, investment and development in Semporna.