Selamat Datang and Greetings from Sabah.
May is a month-long Harvest Celebration for Sabah. We welcome international guests for Sabah Fest – A Cultural Extravaganza. Last weekend’s Sabah Fest highlighted ‘Aki Nabalu’ showcasing the cultures, customs and traditions of ethnic communities of Sabah and our affinity to Mount Kinabalu, the revered sacred Mountain and resting place of the departed. The Bobohizan, Bobolian, Tantagas from all over Sabah took part in various ceremonies and rituals. The cast performed to a full-house crowd for three days in a row. Sabah Fest kicks off the Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan) celebrations of the Kadazan-Dusun Murut communities in villages, districts and towns of Sabah. Come join the fun and celebrations!
Last year, more than 3.383 million visitors came to Sabah, of which about 1.1million are international visitors and more than 2.3 million are domestic tourists. We are confident 2014 will also be a fruitful year.
The recently concluded 7th Borneo International Marathon attracted a record number of over 7,000 participants this year. For the 16th year, the prestigious PADI highest instructor training course of CDTC was conducted in Kota Kinabalu recently, attracting participants from 24 countries. This year’s ANZAC Day also attracted close to 200 Australians to Sandakan. Many of these groups travelled to the east coast to visit the Turtle Islands, the world renowned Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Sanctuary and river-safaris to Sukau for the must-see Bornean wildlife habitats. Media groups such as National Geographic and Discovery Channel continue to film Sabah, including the highly respected British naturalist Sir David Attenborough who filmed in Danum Valley recently.
The recent abduction case on the remote part of the Eastern Coast of Sabah has compelled the Government to heighten security measures to ensure safety for the locals and visitors to the State. The security aspect is not taken lightly by the authorities. The State and Federal Government including the Prime Minister has also called on for tighter security enforcement on the vast waters of Sabah. All resorts operators in the East Coast are working closely with the authorities to reinforce and enhance security measures, for the safety of visitors and guests. The Federal Government has announced that it will increase and deploy more maritime assets to Semporna and the East Coast Sabah.
ESSCOM (Eastern Sabah Security Command) was established in 2013 to oversee the entire east coast of Sabah from Kudat in the far north to Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Semporna in the southeast to overcome infiltrations, illegal arrivals and smuggling.
All our attractions including the dive islands-resorts in the east coast, nature and wildlife sanctuaries in Sandakan and throughout the West Coast are open all year-round. Sabah is peaceful and the people are friendly. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah’s capital city is bustling and busy with tourists and conference delegates. It is business as usual.
Terima Kasih. Thank you.