Archive for the ‘Minister of Tourism’ Category


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By DATUK SERI MUSA AMAN 

SABAH recorded its highest number of tourist arrivals last year. There were 3.427 million visitors, who spent an estimated RM7.25 billion based on receipts generated.

The amount was money paid for flights, rooms, transport, food, services and souvenirs they brought home to remind them of their trip to the “Land Below the Wind”. This contributed an extra 10 per cent to the state’s economy.

For this, I applaud the state Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry, as well as industry stakeholders. Kudos to the minister in charge, Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

The remarkable achievement was made possible with hard work and perseverance, as well as the belief that we have what it takes to be a world-class destination.

Hard work — through the aggressive promotional activities carried out by the ministry via its “engine room”, the Sabah Tourism Board under the stewardship of Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

Hard work — by working hand in hand with the related government agencies, private sector, service providers, retailers and communities that depend on tourist arrivals.

Perseverance — by believing that despite the challenges we face, Sabah is gifted with a natural setting that attracts many to its shores, mountains, rivers and jungles.

Perseverance — that despite all the brickbats, we have strived harder to present our charms, host our guests and do our best to serve them while they are here.

Another key factor is how the ministry, along with the board and other agencies, has strategically embraced digital marketing to promote the state. We have come a long way and put in a lot of effort to become a destination of choice.

The state has also received a lot of help from the federal leadership under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has always been in awe of Sabah’s natural beauty.

Infrastructure development and the injection of funds have helped put in place the roads, airport runways, hotels, and electricity and water supply needed to play host to visitors.

To be on a par with world-class destinations, the state has embarked on endeavours, such as the Tanjung Aru Eco Development plan, to rejuvenate the iconic beach in Kota Kinabalu.

Federal approvals for flight arrivals have helped tremendously in boosting tourist arrivals, too.

Last year, four airlines commenced direct flights to Kota Kinabalu International Airport, where today, 13 foreign airlines have direct connections from 16 international locations.

There was a threefold increase in chartered flight arrivals, from 76 in 2015 to 210 last year, bringing in 25,627 passengers.

On our shores, there were 37 cruise and naval ships that called to port in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau, bringing in more than 33,000 visitors.

Our international relations with foreign countries have helped encourage tourist arrivals.

Friendly ties with China resulted in a double-digit growth in arrivals from the country, with 374,939 visitors. There was also an increase in arrivals from South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Brunei.

Domestic tourist arrivals are another important factor, with nearly 2.3 million people from other states having made Sabah their holiday destination.

All these will require better roads, communication lines and security. With greater development in the pipeline under the Barisan Nasional government, we can expect better connectivity that will allow more of Sabah to be explored.

We have anchor attractions, such as the majestic Mount Kinabalu; the islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Sakaran and Tun Mustapha marine parks in Kota Kinabalu, Semporna and Kudat, respectively; and, wildlife, such as orangutans at the Sepilok sanctuary in Sandakan and proboscis monkeys in Sukau and Bilit, Kinabatangan.

Other prime destinations include the Maliau Basin, Danum Valley and Imbak Canyon conservation areas.

We have seen new interest developing in adventure hiking trails in Kiulu, Tambunan and Penampang; the food industry, with visitors trying out fresh seafood and local delicacies; tamu grounds; and, cultural events.

Visit Tambunan Year 2017, for example, was envisioned by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan to promote the interior district as a tourist destination. The initiative is commendable.

It is our duty and responsibility, as the host, to provide the best we can so that every visitor leaves with pleasant memories and experiences from their trip to Sabah — and return.

**The writer is Sabah chief minister

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The recent Sabah Quake has left a very damaging effect on Sabah and her people in all forms. The physical, psychological, spiritual trauma felt by Sabahans and friends of Sabah is one that cannot be erased so easily. As someone who has called Sabah my home for many years, I believe I speak for many that the Sabah Quake is a reminder of how insignificant we are to a land that had provided so much for so many. Clearly, life as we live it must take into account natures very living presence that is in as much of a position as human beings are in determining both life and death.

However, what I foresee to be the greatest burden befallen those effected by the quake is an economical one.The quake took 18 lives and left almost 20 people wounded and hurt. Over a hundred climbers were left stranded on the mountain, without other viable exit routes. Numerous homes and building in approximately 18 districts suffered structurally and more than 80 aftershocks recorded by the Meteorological Department, many more will soon be reported.

The point that I am making here is simple; There is a great need for funds designated to restoration works in Sabah. The local mountain guides (national heroes in my eyes) and affected local residents need to be taken care of till Mount Kinabalu is once again ready for climbers. In its current state, no climbers would even dare think of weathering Akinabalu and if climbers are no longer coming, an entire community that depends on this industry to make a living will be severely effected.

Recently in a conversation with Sabah Chief Minister, Musa Aman, I was told that he had appealed to several high ranking officers from PETRONAS ( a government endorsed oil and Gas conglomerate) to assist with the Sabah Quake victims. A verbal agreement was made between Aman and PETRONAS in which this special fund would serve as their CSR for Sabah. This has yet to take place, but for this assistance to make truly help, it needs to come in soon. Similarly, other successful companies and conglomerates need to come forward in a similar fashion. Anyone who has benefited from Sabah needs to pump resources back to the state immediately.

We can never blame anyone for the Sabah quake. Nature is unpredictable as it is beautiful and what happens within the realm of the natural is completely out of our hands. But what we can take complete control of are the aftermaths, the rehabilitation and and the recovery. If we fail to assist and support where it is needed, then blame is inevitable. Conglomerates, such as PETRONAS who have had the support of so many, need to take time from their busy schedule to realize that those servicing the Mount Kinabalu, a cherished and honored world heritage site, are in need of help. Help needs to come sooner rather than later, through swift action and not as lip service.

this piece was out today in the Sunday Daily Express forum


DAILY EXPREES

Wednesday, 28th July, 2010

Masidi: Perm Sec not under MACC probe

Barnard Yaang

Kota Kinabalu: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun denied that his Permanent Secretary was hauled in by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) for questioning recently.

He said he has no knowledge of the so-called MACC probe on Suzannah Liaw when asked to comment on the Malaysia Today web portal alleging that she was being investigated for graft.

” I can confirm to you no such thing happened,” he said, adding he was surprised that people kept asking him whether the allegation was true.

Instead, he said the issue was a result of a misunderstanding over Liaw’s insurance claim. He said Liaw sustained broken legs about two years ago in an accident following which she submitted claims for injuries from the insurance company.

The State Government, he said, has an insurance scheme for its employees and that the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) and Sabah Parks where Liaw served as member of the board of directors in both entities also provide insurance coverage.

However, the people misconstrued Liaw’s insurance claims as claiming money from the Government. He said Liaw is permitted to make insurance claims, as she is entitled to it.

He explained that the compensation payment from the insurance company was only paid to her after almost two years because the company requires time to ascertain the authenticity of the claims.

Maisdi said people have become vicious in passing rumours that hurt other people for no apparent reason.

“I hope this serves as a good lesson to remind us that if you dont stop all the nonsense in our society, we would be sinking into low morality,” he said.

He suggested the very same people who were jealous of Liaw for the insurance claims break their legs so that they could make similar claims from the insurance companies.

See full story here


This is from Bernama –

The police have given an assurance that security patrols in the coastal areas and islands of Sabah will be intensified as a precautionary measure following a travel advisory that terrorists plan to attack tourists in the area.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said tight security would always be maintained to ensure that the country was free of all types of threats that could jeopardise national security.

“I have directed the state police chief to intensify patrols along the coast and islands around Sabah especially Semporna, Mabul and Sipadan.”

“We will always monitor the situation and take appropriate action, thus the people and tourists are asked to be calm and not to be worried because we are always on alert,” he told Bernama when contacted.

He was commenting on a travel advisory issued by the United States Embassy, here, warning that criminal and terrorist groups were planning attacks against foreigners in the islands of Sabah.

The notice posted on the embassy’s website and dated Friday, said resorts located in isolated areas of eastern Sabah posed a concern.

It urged “extreme caution” in connection with any travel in isolated areas of eastern Sabah, including Semporna and the islands of Mabul and Sipadan.

The advisory noted that the Abu Sayaf militant group, an al Qaeda-linked militant group based in the southern Philippines, which is a short boat rideHERE from Sabah, have kidnapped foreigners from Sabah’s secluded resort areas in the past.

Read HERE when even way back in 2005, the CIA, from the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur came to interview me after this article I wrote in the Daily Express Sabah. Its not surprising, the East Coast of Sabah has been a hotbed for terrorists activities for a longtime and even in 2006, Malaysian cops arrested several members of a Jemaah Islamiah (JI) support cell here. Read more HERE.



Deputy Minister of Tourism Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Abdul Taib the son of Chief Minister of Sarawak Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib bin Mahmud has resigned as Deputy Minister of Tourism.

Sulaiman Abdul Rahman submitted his letter of resignation last week to the Minister of Tourism Datuk Paduka Ng Yen Yen due to misunderstanding with his Minister lady boss and this has been brewing for a while. Both are not in talking terms.

Sulaiman last week also sent Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak a copy of his resignation as the Deputy Minister and this it seems was not accepted by the PM.

Najib Tun Razak before he left for Sabah last Saturday did meet up with Sulaiman. Don’t know what transpired in this meeting.

In the March 2008 general election, Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib won a seat for parliament and became Deputy Tourism Minister. Before this, he did not have any political experience but was a high-profile corporate businessman.

Sometime last year, there was even a police report lodged by a former TV personality 22-year-old Avaa Vanja Ramli alleging that Sulaiman had beat her up blue and black in Kuala Lumpur.

There is also widespread gossip in Sarawak that Sulaiman is suffering from the disease AIDS and gets depressed and erratic most of the time and hence its difficult for him to function as a Deputy Minister.

Sulaiman’s sister Jamilah Hamidah controls the family’s business empire in Canada, America and England and it is said to be worth more than a billion dollars.

Sulaiman’s brother Mahmud Abu Bekir who is married to the elder sister of Malaysia’s Jazz Queen Shila Majid is also said to be worth more than $500 million.

Sulaiman’s other sister Roziah is one of the most powerful businesswomen in Sarawak with extensive holdings in property and timber business.

Sulaiman’s father Taib is also accused of deep corruption and nepotism with dominance of Sarawak’s political elite in the logging industry. It was even reported that nine Japanese shipping companies, which transported timber from Sarawak, had allegedly failed to report some 1.1 billion yen in income over a period of up to seven years. The report claimed the money was paid as kickbacks to Sarawak officials including a Hong Kong agent linked to Taib’s family.

Under Taib the logging industry in Sarawak has logged many of the ancestral lands of Sarawak’s indigenous communities, despite a lot of hue and cry, petitions and road blockades by the civil society. Forceful dismantling has led to several deaths and regular violent coercion by the Malaysian army, police and logging industry enforcers. There was also reports of RAPE of indigenous girls and women by loggers and enforcers of the industry and has become a hugely contentious issue in Sarawak. See here and here.


The Dinner

“The Dinner”

The Dinner

“The Dinner”

The Ride

“The Ride”

These pictures were sent to me by someone from Tanjung Aru Tours & Travel. The rest in the pictures, other than me, are all staff of  Tanjung Aru Tours & Travel the oldest tour company in North Borneo/Sabah.

First, let me note that this is an excellent group. Collectively, they “got it”. I appreciated their effort, maturity and professionalism, including their willingness to put self aside for the greater interest of the company and the tourist visiting Sabah. They collectively worked hard, bucked up when travellers appeared, they rolled up their sleeves and were proactive in their answers and questions asked by travellers. This group is active and does cultivate relationships with people they meet. This was great to witness. Collectively, they are outstanding ambassadors for our country. I am very proud of them and their efforts.

In many instances, because of the professional way this group conducted themselves, they changed the perceptions of Malaysia in a very positive and productive way. I felt honored to witness such an exchange and it made me feel optimistic about the future. And one person who has to be acknowledged in this group is Rosdiana Wasimin, a Dusun from Kundasang, and, she was leading the group and motivating all the others in her team so positively with her knowledge on Sabah tourism and its tourism products, I was amazed.

Understanding that our youth hold the key to our future let us with good judgment, strategize and develop our sustainable tourism product with our youth in mind and as partners. There is a huge potential in tourism which can attract many young people. Its up to us as to bring the best out of them all. If we are serious in scouting for really capable and talented Malaysians, there are many out there and we have to start looking outside of the box of current talents.

I could write more about “The Dinner” and “The Ride” but for now I will settle with the attached pictures that said it all.


I’m getting word from Umno contacts that Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said’s political secretary was detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for alleged graft involving RM70,000, apparently linked to the Umno elections. Azalina’s political secretary was arrested on Wednesday and released only yesterday.

It makes me laugh now. The other day, YB Dato’ Sri Azalina Othman Said while speaking to journalist was mocking at the historic Perak legislative gathering under the “tree of democracy.” Azalina was so quick to say, ” tindakan Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Perak, V Sivakumar, dan 27 anggota dewan yang terdiri daripada DAP, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) dan Pas menghadiri persidangan dewan di bawah pokok adalah satu tindakan yang tidak bertamadun.”

“Uncivilize” was the word Azalina used.

Uncivilize? Who? Azalina, this so-called civilized Umno/BN seems to have turned uncivilized as never before and the disarray Malaysia is facing is due to such corrupt political leaders we created. I rather be uncivilized than to be fatally corrupted. Go figure out which is worst.