Sat, 2 Dec 2023



Advice to Western nations on the travel advisory: Come to Sabah and assess the situation
Published on: Friday, August 18, 2023
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Advice to Western nations on the travel advisory: Come to Sabah and assess the situation
Christina (seated middle) during the launch of the Aquams portal.
Kota Kinabalu: Representatives from Western nations are advised to come to Sabah and assess the security situation for themselves. 

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew offered this advice in the wake of the persistent travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel to the east coast of Sabah, from Kudat southward to Tawau, due to the risk of kidnapping.

“As much as we want to tell the world that Sabah (in Malaysia) is a safe destination for tourism, the travel advisory against visiting certain areas on the East Coast is still there. 

“We have taken up this issue, accordingly,” she said during a press conference to announce the 2nd TTLX Summit with the theme “Experience Tourism” at Hilton Kota Kinabalu, Thursday.

The Minister was responding to a question from the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) Sabah Branch Chairman Datuk Lee Swi Heng who wanted to know the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry’s (KePKAS) and Sabah Tourism Board’s (STB) plans pertaining to the travel advisory (against travelling to certain parts of Sabah). 

“While we promote tourism and tell the world that Sabah is a safe place, how do the authorities address the travel advisory and what platform should they use, given that western countries look at Sabah with a different kind of perspective?” he asked.

Citing the personal visit of the Ambassador of Germany to Malaysia, Dr Peter Blomeyer, as an example, Liew said the ambassador was on a fact-finding mission to Sabah in June this year.

“We had a meeting, and we discussed the issue (travel advisory). In fact, he went all the way to visit the East Coast of Sabah to assess the security situation there. He wanted to convince himself that Sabah is indeed a safe place now,” Liew recalled.

During the courtesy call on the Minister, Dr Blomeyer assured that the German Embassy in Kuala Lumpur will help promote Sabah as an ideal destination for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibitions) events, after learning about the imposing Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC).

Liew said the last “bad incidents” (in apparent reference to the Sipadan and Pandanan kidnappings in 2000) happened about 20 years ago, and since then, Sabah has been quite safe. 

“However, the generation of publicity on the episodes was bad until today. So, unfortunately, we cannot tell them (western countries), ‘Look, we are very safe.’ 

“But we invite them to come and see for themselves. We will have a dialogue for them to understand the real situation on the ground.”

“The decision to lift the travel advisory is up to the countries concerned. But we provide what we can and let them know this is what we are doing in terms of security,” she concluded. 

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