Wednesday, November 13

‘Tourists, tour operators feel safer with curfew on in east coast’

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KOTA KINABALU: Tourists and operators have all agreed that it is much safer now with the enforcement of curfew in Sabah’s east coast, said Tourism, Culture and Environment minister, Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

“This is the popular wish of all the tourists. The tourists and operators feel safe with the curfew on,” said Masidi at the Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at Likas Sports Complex here yesterday.

“I think it is good. We need some time to stabilise the situation in the east coast and that’s one of the better ways to ensure there is some sense of security and stability in that place,” he said.

However, he noted that the curfew also invited some negative connotations.

“We need to accept the fact that we cannot have it forever. Sooner or later, we will have to get it over with it because it is good,” he said.

“But the implication is not necessarily positive, especially to some foreigners because curfew to them means there is a big problem, which is not exactly the case.

“I suppose over time, there will be some semblance of law and order in that area. Perhaps when the time comes, there will be no necessity for it. But until such time, I think we have to accept it as an important component of life in the areas affected,” he concluded.

Sabah Police Commissioner, Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, first invoked the enforcement of the curfew under Section 3(1) of the Police Act 1967 a year ago.

The curfew, which was originally extended from 1 day to 14 days, is enforced off the east coast of Sabah from 6pm to 6am with a margin that starts three nautical miles from the coast off Tg Pundaras in Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Semporna and Tawau.

The two-week curfew is now enforced between 7pm to 5am and extended to July 20, 2015 for the 24th time earlier this month.