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 Local

MOTAC: Licence revoked for tour guides taking part in illegal assembly

17th July, 2017

By PAUL MU

KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture (MOTAC) Sabah Office has warned that stern action will be taken to revoke the licence of tourist guides if they are found guilty of taking part in an assembly at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) illegally.

MOTAC Sabah director Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar who issued the warning yesterday said: “We view this matter seriously and have requested the police to launch an investigation to confirm if the assembly is illegal; if found guilty, we will not hesitate to revoke all their (tourist guides) licences with immediate effect.”

He assured future tourists coming to Sabah that the incident at the airport last Friday night was an isolated case.

“We wish to apologise to this group for the inconvenience caused on behalf of the irresponsible tourist guides’ behaviour and assure that stern action will be taken.

“No one is above the law and taking matters into their own hands is a serious offence,” stressed Zaki.

He said MOTAC condemns the action and attitude of Sabah Tourist Guide Association (STGA) and Persatuan Pemandu Pelancong Bumiputera (PPPB) for organising the assembly at KKIA as they are the frontliners of the tourism industry.

He said MOTAC has investigated the alleged tour company which both STGA and PPPB claimed is illegal, but they found the company has conducted their business legally according to the Tourism Industry Act 1992.

The assembly organised by both the tour guide associations has threatened the alleged tour company’s appointed licensed guides to flee from the airport before the arrival of their guests for fear of their safety, he said.

“Their (STGA and PPPB) conduct in the airport is uncalled for as they have painted a very negative image to the tourists who has just arrived.

“And it has tarnished the image of the ‘friendly Sabahans’ as their actions have caused the tourists to be stranded for two hours in the airport during the wee hours and the tourists also terrified for their safety,” said Zaki.

“To make matters worse, we have received many complaints from many local and international tour companies especially from China and Korea. Because of the incident, they have also cancelled their future tours to Sabah,” disclosed Zaki.

Such behaviour from both tour guide associations is totally unacceptable to our industry as the respective presidents of the associations should set a good example in leading their guides as there are many ways to solve any business conflict through the proper channel, he said.

He said the issue can be resolved through a dialogue and MOTAC office is always ready and open to welcome anyone who requires support and assistance.

“Tourism is a dynamic industry which involved many parties. All of us need to take holistic approach to solve matters. We work very closely with KePKAS, Sabah Tourism Board and all related industry players for the sake of Sabahans and any parties are open to seek clarification with us,” said Zaki.

   
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