#POV: Concern Over Travel Advisories Issued on Sabah


KOTA KINABALU : Several Parti Warisan leaders have voiced their concern over the travel advisory on Sabah issued by several European countries that may prevent players in several sectors in the State from taking full advantage on the lower ringgit.

The State Legislative Member for Tunku, Assafal P. Alian stated that the party is shocked to learn that the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) advisories on Sabah to their citizens, highlighting the coastal of Kudat and Tawau as areas with risk of kidnapping are still stated as ‘only essential travel’.

“The Canadian government advisory specifically mentioned the threat of kidnapping and violence perpetrated by militants from the Philippines against tourist resorts, restaurants, waterfronts, and islands along the Kinabatangan River (Sukau) and Sipadan. We don’t know the extent of the damage caused by all these advisories but if travelers abide them, then imagine how much Sabahans at the East Coast have lost in terms of tourism and economic spillovers opportunities that they could have enjoyed at a time when low Ringgit can attract these Europeans to come and spend their dollars, pounds and Euros here.”

“I believe that it would not only be our local tourism and hospitality players who may have lost this golden opportunity but also POIC (in securing European MNCs investors) and
Shareda (in securing Sbh-MM2H European buyers),” he lamented.

The party also reiterated the call made by its President, Shafie Apdal to the Federal Government for the relocation of security bases from the West to East Coast of Sabah as the final solution to issues of smuggling, illegal immigration, piracy, kidnapping, transit terrorism and future intrusion.

“We now know that despite the existence of Esscom, other countries are unconvinced with the security level at the East Coast and lest we forget, the militancy threats from the Philippines are far from over as highlighted by The Sydney Morning Herald last month,” said Ma’mun Sulaiman who is the former Member of Parliament for Kalabakan. Warisan thinks that it is now crucial to relocate the army, navy and air camps from the West to the East Coast and to invest in military intelligence/surveillance systems such as the ‘Predator MQ-9’ drone to monitor our border.

Assafal, Darell, Ma’mun

The Tanduo Intrusion in 2013 should serve as a reminder to us of how these militant threats can develop covertly and with the so-called Sulu Sultanate heirs now making their international presence, we must take the appropriate action now to meet up with any future possibility.

Warisan will undoubtedly take action to make this relocation a reality for the benefit of the State’s tourist, investment, and real estate players, as well as the improvement of the economic well-being of the Sabahans along the East Coast,” he continued.

Meanwhile, the Deputy President of Warisan, Darell Leiking said that the party will do everything it can to restore the international community confidence in Sabah’s security level as part of its effort to revitalise the state’s economy and he also hope the Federal Government will extend its cooperation on the matter.

“Yes, Warisan is not the ruling State Government and even our party’s State Legislative Members all over the State are denied of the State Assembly’s annual allocation but we have to do this (restore confidence) for the sake of the Sabahans at the East Coast who are desperate for economic opportunities.”

Except for environmental and RSPO issues, the international community had never highlighted security matter in Sabah during my tenure as the Minister of International Trade and Industry and even throughout the period of 2018 to 2020, several European companies and their representatives have expressed their interest to invest here in the fertilizer and recycling industries.

Warisan will do everything possible to make this relocation a reality and we also believe that State/Federal relationship should be guided by MA63 and not political subordination so this request will be a test to see whether the interests of the people of Sabah are being taken seriously or not,” he concluded.


POV: Point Of View represents opinions by contributors, published on this website. The editor encourages readers to consume content not just at face value, more so not based on a headline. 


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