Discussions still on, says CM
Published on: Friday, September 20, 2019
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KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said the State is still in negotiations with Putrajaya over the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as well as the claim for 20 per cent oil royalty and 40 per cent return of revenue.

“We are still talking. Discussions are progressing well. Some things have already been realised and given back to us, like Sipadan and Ligitan islands,” he said after launching Tourism Malaysia’s “Best of Sabah” tour packages at the airport here. 

He was asked to comment on the Prime Minister’s Malaysia Day speech in Kuching, Sarawak on September 16 which did not provide any insight on the two east Malaysian states’ desire for equal status and rights accorded to them.

Later, when asked about the lack of “goodies”, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that Sabah and Sarawak were among Malaysia’s richest states and any goodies would come with the rest of the country to avoid any disparity. 

Shafie said there would be another meeting with the prime minister to continue talks on these issues soon. 

“I will bring these issues up again,” he said, adding that other issues have been decided on but have yet to be announced.

When asked what was discussed between Dr Mahathir and the state Cabinet here on Tuesday, Shafie said they talked about matters concerning state and federal developments.

He said they also spoke about how important it is for the state and federal governments to work together for the benefit of the people as both have resources that would be mutually beneficial.

Meanwhile, the improvement of airport facilities in the State remain a priority for the State Government, said Mohd Shafie, as it would have positive impact on tourist arrivals in Sabah.

“Malaysia Airport Berhad (MAB) and other relevant agencies came to meet me a few months ago and I told them that having good airports is important.

“If we invest on improving this infrastructure, it will bring substantial revenue to the country.”

Besides, other Asian countries, such as the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore, are very competitive.

“They have matured and good infrastructure…and we are also aware about the relocation of the Indonesian capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan.

“There will be a lot of development in Kalimantan in five years’ time.Hence, if we are not ready to attract tourists and our infrastructure is not improved, tourists may opt for other nearby destinations.

“That is why it is still one of our priorities,” he said.

Citing KKIA, he said, the capacity is about 9.4 million per year and currently is reaching 9 million.

“And I think we cannot cope with the number of tourist arrivals in the next five years. Tawau Airport had exhausted…it had exceeded its capacity. Same goes to Lahad Datu which is quite saturated, in terms of its current capacity.

“Airport is one of the development enablers in the State. When tourists come, a good airport must be provided, as well as power and water supply, among others.”

Meanwhile, the Best of Sabah Holiday Packages booklet was introduced by Tourism Malaysia in support of the domestic campaign in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign.

The initiative was materialised through the partnership with Sabah Tourism Board (STB), Matta Sabah Chapter, Sabah Tourism Association, Sabah Homestay Association and local airlines in Sabah.

Featuring 135 holiday packages offered by 76 travel agencies, tourism product operators, homestay operators and local airlines, the booklet provides new holiday ideas in Sabah and explores the State’s lesser known tourist attractions.

The packages not only highlight the destinations, but also Sabah’s adventure activities, culture and cuisines.

The booklet is available on Tourism Malaysia’s website.

Also present were Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi, Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew, and Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Frankie Phoon.



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