KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s request to take over the power to issue tourism-related licences from the Federal Government could not be materialised yet as the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63) deal is still under ‘negotiation’.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said that Sabah had been facing issues in regards to the issuance of licences to operators from the state and the problem had been going on for some time now.
“Only when the Sabah Government is given the power of issuing tourism licences, then we could have the power to regulate and carry out enforcement of the law in relation to licence holders,” said Christina, who is also State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister.
“As the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tawau, I had on October 22 this year asked for devolution of power from the Federal Government to enable Sabah to approve applications for tourism-related licensing and to issue licences.
“I raised this concern during the debate on the National Budget 2020 in the Dewan Rakyat,” she disclosed.
In her debate, she had urged the Federal Government to empower Sabah to approve and issue five types of tourism licensing, namely the entry and exit licence for tourism agents; licence for tourist guides; licence for tourism vehicles (example, excursion buses); ticket licensing; and licence to manage tourism training schools or institutions.
Unfortunately, she said that the request had to be put on hold.
“On November 5, I received a written reply from MOTAC on the matter. It reads like this … My ministry has taken note of the request made by the Member of Parliament for Tawau. However, the devolution of power to the State is yet to be implemented, considering that matters in connection with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) are still under negotiation.”
“In short, my request for devolution of power in this respect has been put on hold subject to the finalisation of devolution of power based on the MA63 which is still under negotiation. I keep my fingers crossed and hope it bears fruit,” said Christina.
Earlier in April, Sabah and Sarawak’s dreams of getting back the status equal partners in the Federation of Malaysia seemed to be achievable after the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution was tabled in Parliament.
However, the Bill was rejected after it failed to reach the required two-thirds majority.
Awards were presented to 33 categories during the event.
Meanwhile, Best Tour Operator Inboud (Malaysia/Sabah) award was won by Pelancongan Taikar Worldmart Sdn Bhd; Best Overseas Tour Operator-China category, won by Guangdong China Women International Travel Services Co.Ltd.
Taiwan category won by Fantast Travel Service Co.Ltd; Hongkong category won by Hong Kong Wing On Travel Service Limited; Korea category won by Hanatour Service Inc; Singapore category won by Amazing Borneo Travel Event Pte Ltd and United Kingdom Ireland category won by Natural Travel Collection Ltd (Wildlife Worldwide).
Among those present in the event were Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assafal P. Alian; Mayor Datuk Nordin Siman; Consul-General of the Republic of Indonesia in Kota Kinabalu, Bapak Krishna Djelani; and Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide.