KOTA KINABALU: The Kota Kinabalu City Mosque (MBR) will introduce updated standard operating procedures (SOPs) beginning August 1, when it plans to reopen to tourists.
MBR chairman Datuk Abdul Jamal Tun Sakaran said the SOPs have been updated to suit current times, particularly following the incident involving tourists dancing in the mosque compound, which had gone viral on social media.
“We will begin collecting entry fees from tourists who visit the mosque, whether they venture into the mosque area or just take pictures outside. We found the need to impose a fee to cover management costs as well as staff salary, especially tourist guides, as there is now a higher demand. We need to recruit more tourist guides and eventually set up an information centre,” he said.
MBR Syukbah Dakwah chairman and treasurer Syed Husin Habib Omar said all tour operators must first possess a registered licence under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTAC).
“This is so that we can keep a closer eye on tourists who visit the mosque. We receive a minimum of 200 to 300 tourists per day, and those who come in personal vehicles make it harder for us to keep track of everyone. This is one of the ways for us to do so. Tourists who wish to visit the mosque will also be required to make reservations at least three days prior to visiting,” said Syed Husin.
Meanwhile, MOTAC Sabah director Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar said the SOP was revised to minimise future unwanted or unexpected events and emphasised the importance of strict regulation on tour operators.
However, Zaki reminded that the SOP is still in the trial stages and may require further improvements down the road. Feedback, especially from industry players, are welcomed and encouraged.
He also stressed that authorities will not hesitate to take action against illegal operators who contravene the Tourism Industry Act 1992, which could result in revocation of licence.