Wednesday, August 8, 2007



The Sabah State Government is toying with the idea of allowing only day trips to the islands around Sabah as a mean of ensuring their pristine beauty, State Tourism Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun said.

From the sublime to the ridiculous.

Can't our Minister look at the bigger picture on how to further develop our tourism industry instead of coming up with such ridiculous ideas that could have negative impact on the tourism industry. How would closing the islands at night help to contribute to the pristine beauty ? Maybe the Minister should expand further how he arrived at this rather unusual conclusion.

It is common knowledge that most of our coral reefs around our islands are destroyed due to the lackadaisical attitude of enforcement by the relevant authorities. Little had been done to police the areas.Fish bombing and indiscriminate trawling are the two biggest culprits to the destruction of our once pristine coral reefs. There is no will and determination coming from the government to arrest this menace other than the occasional lip service coming from our leaders whenever they need to refresh their image. The moment they stepped off the podium every word in their prepared speech vanished into thin air.

"Our island is beautiful.Tourists like to go to the islands.They will continue to come so long as the islands remain as they are" he said. Not true. Tourists will only come if you have proper and clean facilities on the island. Look at the few islands around Tungku Abdul Rahman Park can you honestly call them proper and clean. Forget about your dear tourists, what about me, I am a tax paying citizen of this country who deserved better, don't you think I deserved a clean environment too.I am equally ashamed to see the filthy conditions of the buildings and even filthier conditions of the toilets. All facilities are managed by the Ministry through Sabah Parks. The park wardens and workers are not trained properly on how to look after the island and to make visitors more comfortable . From the ridiculous to the unthinkable can happen on any of the islands under Sabah Parks.

I was once a regular visitor to one island, Memutik which was the most private of them all, less tourists. One Sunday, I was on the island with some friends. I just couldn't believe whether it was sheer stupidity or a show of some kind by the dim-witted worker. He was mowing the lawn on a Sunday morning when the island was crowded with people. Why can't it be done from Monday to Friday?Call them by any other name if you wish and dim-witted is certainly one of them.

I would like to invite the Minister one day to come on my boat and take him on a journey around the islands and the whole stretch of Sunken Shoal from Mengalum to Mentanani and to North Furious and he can see for himself the amount of fish bombing and destruction to our coral reefs taking place every day without any intervention from the authorities.

Malaysia is a democratic country and the government is not at liberty to stop its citizen the freedom of movement within the country and to its islands, with the exception of highly sensitive security areas.

It's not the visitors that causing the problem to the pristine beauty of the islands.It's the poor management and lack of enforcement.It's the 'tidak apa' attitude of our civil servants and our leaders entrusted to do the job.

So, my Dear Minister 'DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT'

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