Secure tour packages from operators registered with MOTAC – Liew

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Wang (centre) with Lee (right) and Loong at a hotel.

KOTA KINABALU (May 15): All potential tourists to Sabah are advised to secure tour packages from operators who are registered with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC).

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew gave the advice in the wake of a drowning incident at Mengalum Snorkelling Point on May 11, which involved a Chinese tourist, Zhang Tian Long, 34.

“It is understood that the deceased and his wife Wang Cui Cui, 32, who were married recently, had purchased a Mengalum day tour from the Taobao app, and were then handled by a local tour operator while holidaying in Sabah,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

Wang, a nurse, was waiting on the Mengalum Beach for her husband to return from his snorkelling leisure activity when the incident happened in the middle of the sea.

Liew, who is currently on an official trip overseas, also emphasised the need for tourist boats to be well-equipped with life-saving appliances, such as life-jackets, first aid kit and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) equipment in case of emergencies.

On Tuesday, Political Secretary Vivien Lee, who represented the minister, and Sabah Tourism Board (STB) marketing manager Aboni Loong visited the wife of the deceased at a hotel where she was staying.

STB assured Wang that the agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment would do its best to render assistance.

The duo assisted the wife in contacting the funeral parlour for documentation and funeral arrangements for the deceased.

A distraught Wang, who had filed a report on the incident at the police station, told Lee and Loong that she would initiate legal action against the ground handler.