KOTA KINBALU: The State government should make serious effort to prevent tourists from going astray at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) when they enter Sabah, said Tan Sri T.C Goh, president of the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS).
He proposed that the relevant authorities immediately improve the facilities at the arrival hall especially by placing sufficient signage with multiple languages, Chinese included, so that foreign visitors would not go astray.
“Besides this, the relevant authorities like the State Tourism Board and the Malaysia Airport Bhd (MAB) should also consider stationing some trained personnel at the airport, during the peak hours, so as to better assist the tourists with necessary information upon arrival or departure,” he added.
He urged this while speaking at the official launching of the 2020 Chinese New Year Carnival at Gaya Street here, on Sunday. He said, FCAS was rather concerned with the recent incident where four female China tourists were detained for 18 days in Tawau prison, for not having their passports stamped by the immigration when they entered Sabah.
He also supported the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s response to the incident by asking the Immigration Department to explain the never-ending problem faced by Chinese tourists in Sabah.
Goh who is also president of The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) went on to remind that this year, Malaysia is not only hosting the ‘Visit Malaysia 2020’ (VM2020) but also the ‘Malaysia-China Cultural Tourism Year’ (MCCTY) with the hope of attracting more tourists to visit the country to boost tourism revenues. Through the VM2020 campaign, the government is targeting to bring in 30 million international tourists and RM100 billion in tourist receipts to the country. As for the MCCTY, it aims to attract 300 to 400 million China tourists.
“Hence, I hope that the government could better improve the service, facilities and safety at our airports and tourist spots. Our tour operators, food and beverage business operators too must improve their attitude and service, and provide reasonable price, so that our tourists would have a good impression on our country and would come back for visit again in future,” he said.
He continued that the rationale and motivation behind FCAS organising of the annual Chinese New Year Carnival was to attract more tourists, the China tourists especially, to visit Sabah, so that they could better appreciate the sheer determination and effort of the overseas Chinese in this part of the world, in preserving the Chinese culture and tradition.
“The Chinese New Year season is certainly the best time for you to visit Sabah to experience the unique culture of the local Chinese community,” he said.
He noted that this is also the seventh consecutive year that FCAS has been organising such a fun-filled street carnival in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebrations. The four-day event will last until this Wednesday, 15 January.
Goh also proudly highlighted that the east Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak are the best examples of racial harmony where, the people lived in harmony and tolerance, besides constantly reaching out to each other in time of needs.
“In Sabah, the incident of an extremist demanding for the Chinese New Year decorations be removed from a public school will never happen; and no one will take legal action to challenge the position of the vernacular schools; and you won’t hear such hostile remark of asking the Chinese to “balik China”.
“Therefore, we call upon Malaysians in Sabah to continue to safeguard and preserve such unique culture and harmonious relations that make us proud, and progress and prosper together as one big family,” he urged.
Earlier on, on behalf of FCAS, Goh thanked the State government, the Sabah Tourism Board, the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) and the relevant government agencies, the organising committee and the local artistes, for their support and contribution in making the event a successful and memorable one.
Besides this, he also thanked Sabah deputy chief minister cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew, for representing the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal in officiating the event.
Also present at the occasion were Liang Caide, the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Mayor of Kota Kinabalu City, Datuk Nordin Siman, FCAS deputy president Datuk Jimmy Yong, vice president Datuk Susan Wong, Supervisory Committee chairman Johnson Ng, and the organising chairman for the event, Fung Chun Fatt.-pr/BNN