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RM173.5mil federal tourism projects proposed for Sabah

PUTRAJAYA: The Sabah Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment has submitted a list of proposed tourism development projects in the State, estimated to cost RM173.54 million, to be funded by the Federal Government.
Its Minister Datuk Christina Liew made the submission to the Federal Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac), Datuk Seri Mohammadin Ketapi, at a meeting with the latter at his office, here, Thursday.
Also present were Deputy Secretary-General (Tourism) Dato’ Haslina Abdul Hamid, Tourism Malaysia Director-General Datuk Musa Yusof and Special Functions Officer to the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Jamil Hamzah.
Liew, who is also Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, stressed that the proposed projects are for the continued growth of the tourism industry in Sabah. These involve 10 districts, namely, Tawau, Lahad Datu, Semporna, Sandakan, Kudat, Kota Belud, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Penyu, Tenom and Beaufort.
The projects include upgrading of the infrastructure at the Tawau Hills Park, building of jetties, upgrading of visitor facilities at Simpang Mengayau and at an archaeological site, renovation of the existing building at two heritage museums, provision of tourism facilities at a wildlife sanctuary and renovation of the Lansaran building and multi-purpose buildings in Tenom.
“I will make a strong recommendation for the approval of the proposed tourism-related projects. However, the applications for funding of these projects will be scrutinised by the Federal Economic Planning Unit.  We will keep on fighting for funds,” Mohammadin assured Liew, who was accompanied by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, William Baya, Director of Sabah Parks, Dr Jamili Nais, Sabah Tourism Board General Manager, Suzaini Datuk Sabdin Ghani and the Minister’s Private Secretary, Helen Muhammari.
The Federal Minister also said he would duly consider the application for funding of the proposed facelift for the Poring Hot Springs in Ranau.
Briefing Mohammadin further, Liew, who is MP for Tawau, made a request for an annual grant of RM1,500,000 for the preservation of Sabah’s ethnic heritage for the benefit of future generations. There are 35 main ethnic groups and 217 sub-ethnic groups in Sabah.
She also sought another annual grant of RM500,000 in support of the International Youth Folk Dance Festival involving primary and secondary school students in Malaysia at national and international levels.
Thirdly, Liew made a request for a “one-off” grant of RM500,000 for the Riu de Tawau programme to kick-start the Cuti-Cuti Tawau campaign which will be launched early next month.
She said the programme will showcase the district’s ethnic groups and their rich heritage via a parade and cultural performances as well as their traditional cuisine through a food expo.
“Tawau is a jewel in the crown but has yet to be fully explored and promoted to tourists.
“I would like Cuti-Cuti Tawau to be incorporated into the calendar of events for Visit Malaysia Year 2020.”
In response, Mohammadin said he would “cari jalan bantu” (find a way to assist), adding “I will help you on that one. I am a Sabahan.”
He also assured his State counterpart that he would put in a word to the Minister of Transport in relation to the proposal to upgrade the Tawau and Sandakan Airports to the status of international airports.
He concurred that Tawau is the gateway to the East Coast of Sabah, and an alternative gateway to Sabah, after Kota Kinabalu.
Meanwhile, Tourism Malaysia Director-General Datuk Musa Yusof disclosed that statistics showed that 44pc of Chinese tourist arrivals to Malaysia came to Sabah in the previous year.

Source: Daily Express | Feb 16, 2019