KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah state government has established a fund for the victims of the 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in China.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the state government had targeted a collection of RM1 million for the fund to be channelled to China.
Speaking to reporters after launching the ‘Sabah Pay’ e-wallet application here today, Mohd Shafie said he had expressed the state government’s concern to the Chinese Consul General in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide at their meeting on Monday.
On the tourism sector in Sabah following the state government’s temporary suspension of Chinese tourists, he said several other measures were taken to increase the presence of tourists from other countries such as South Korea, Japan and Europe.
Mohd Shafie said the focus was also on attracting more domestic tourists to the state such as the peninsula and Sarawak as well as from neighboring countries such as Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.
Meanwhile in Tawau, deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the fund-raising since yesterday was conducted in collaboration with non-governmental organisations in Kota Kinabalu, including through a dinner which was held on Feb. 18.
“The move is an initiative of the State Government as a goodwill gesture as we (Sabah) have always enjoyed a cordial relationship with China via the Consulate Office in Kota Kinabalu.
“In times of trouble like this (coronavirus outbreak) we extend our support to the victims and pray that the viral epidemic will be a thing of the past soon, “she told reporters after handing over school aid to pupils of Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu 4 Apas, here today.
Meanwhile, Liew said that, as of Monday, 97 Chinese nationals who were stranded in Sabah had received a one-week extension of their tourist visas.
On Chinese workers in Tawau who returned home for the Chinese New Year celebrations and wanting to come back to Tawau, she said the matter would be subject to preventive measures taken by the current Sabah government. — Bernama