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Gazetting of dive sites proposed
Published on: Tuesday, July 16, 2019
By: Neil Chan

KOTA KINABALU: The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry has proposed that all identified diving areas be gazetted to ensure no repeat of the recent tragedy that claimed three lives due to fish bombing activities in Semporna.

 Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi (pic) said the move could prevent illegal activities such as  fish bombing from occurring at diving sites.

 An IMM13 document holder-cum-diving instructor and two Chinese tourists were killed by fish bombs on July 5 while diving at Kulapuan Island off Semporna.

He said enforcement against fish bombing does not come under the Tourism Ministry but under the Fisheries Department which falls under the State Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry. 

 “I want to assure that each diving spot needs to be gazetteed. If gazetted, other than tourists who dive no one else can enter.

 “So we have to be realistic about the situation. The problem is if we don’t gazette, divers will dive at these area and these blast fishermen will throw their bombs in as they are unaware there are divers underneath. 

“These are the things that we have to sort out to gazette these areas so that no one comes in to do the illegal blast fishing. If the area is gazetted then more enforcement authorities can also be employed to patrol there,” he said to reporters at the launching of the national-level International Museum Day celebration at Sabah Museum, Monday.

 Asked whether the tragedy and fear of such incidents recurring would deter visitors coming to the area, he said if it continues it will have an effect. 

“That is why we need all parties to cooperate (to prevent the recent tragedy from happening again).”

 Earlier Mohamaddin said the entrance fees for Malaysian museums should be reviewed for an increase.

 “I think the entrance price is set too low, for example it is RM5 per entry for non-Malaysians,” he said.

 “I think we can do this as the standard of our museums is very good compared to other museums overseas. However, we need to have more artefacts exhibited,” he said.

 He also said that RM3mil has been channelled by the Federal Government to the Sabah Museum Department for activities and museum management in 2019.

Mohamaddin Ketapi said museums should not just act as an institution to preserve heritage by documenting and exhibiting artefacts, but also an agent that could create awareness, especially among the young generation, so they have a better understanding of their culture.

 He added although most museums in the country are good with up-to-date facilities, they could be further upgraded and more artefacts put on display.

When asked about the number of visitors to Museums in the country he said the figures was increasing adding that last year alone museums in the country saw about 2.35 million visitors including foreign tourists. 



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