Media statement by Dr. Hiew King Cheu in Kota Kinabalu on Thursday, 17th March 2011:
Kudat tourism needed boosters
The Ministry of Tourism had given a written reply to my question raised in Parliament on the 15th of March, 2011 concerning why there is the lack of help and attention from the ministry being given to uplift the tourism industry and in turns help the economy in the Kudat district which has the high potential with its beautiful environment and natural islands.
The Tourism Ministry is always ready to assist the states to uplift and to improve the tourism industry within Malaysia. As for Kudat, the Ministry is giving help in the projects to upgrade the infrastructures under the 9th Malaysia Plan. The main project is spending RM3.5 million for the upgrading the tourism spot at the "Tip of Borneo" Tanjong Simpang Mengayau, Kudat.
The ministry also has given allocation of RM300,000 under the 9th Malaysia Plan for the "Home Stay" project in Kampong Misompuru, Kudat for the purpose of construction of resting hat, tourism information kiosk, and boardwalks. There are courses and training concerning the use of English in tourism under the program 'Malaysia Welcome the World' for the Home-stay during 2010 and before. This has successfully attracted a total of 1126 tourists from abroad and local tourist too, with an income of RM270,000 for 2010.
The ministry through Tourism Malaysia has made promotion on Pulau Balambangan, Pulau Bangi, Pulau Jambongan, Pulau Balak and Pulau Malawali for scuba diving activities under the "Sabah and Labuan 101 Dive Treasure" program. This is widely publicized and also in the e-brochure of the Tourism Malaysia. Tourism Malaysia also is working with the Sabah Tourism Board and its agencies to promote the tourism packets in Kudat.
Apart from the tourism packets, the Tourism Malaysia Sabah is also helping by giving publicity and promotion on the programs in Kudat in the news media, like the Coconut Festival which is going to be held on the 16 to 17th of July 2011 with the Kudat District office and the Sabah Tourism Board.
The effort given by the Tourism Ministry is far from the actual tourism and economy boost required by Kudat. The effect of a few home-stay and an income of RM270,000 in a year, and some1126 tourists which is believed to be mostly locals coming to Kudat will not help to attract handsome income to Kudat. The allocation given to develop the tourism infrastructure is that little, and how can we manage to increase the tourism facilities in Kudat? What in the actual fact is that the tourism ministry should immediately allocate more fund for Kudat people and encourage them by giving them easy loan scheme for them to move their tourism projects, which is abandon and only pending government financial aids to come. If the government cannot carry out tourism improvement program, they should assist by lending the private sectors with helping hand and full financial backing. The kudat people definitely knows how to build and provide tourism attraction spots and facilities.
The government always talks about it on how to improve the tourism industry, but what is the end result after so many decades? Sabah is still not a tourist-popular destination, and that shows that there is still much to do and build.
* Dr Hiew King Cheu, MP for Kota Kinabalu