Goh (3rd left) with Chan (4th left) and Huang (3rd right) raising the ceremonial torch for the 38th NCCF while Joanne (right), Susan (2nd right) and others look on, during the opening ceremony held at the Padang Merdeka, today.
KOTA KINABALU: The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has called on the relevant authorities, tourism operators and the local residents of Semporna to pay serious attention to complaints from the tourists and take immediate action to improve the three key aspects of tourism industry i.e. the natural beauty, security and hygiene of popular tourists destinations in Semporna.
“Security and hygiene are especially the most important aspects which should be given serious attention to, constantly!” stressed its President Tan Sri T C Goh.
He said this in support of Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing’s recent instruction to the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) to pull its socks up and to come out with a proposal to improve Semporna’s hygiene conditions, following complaints from tourists on the town’s filthy conditions and lack of hygiene.
Goh also hopes the other tourism operators in the country could treat the Semporna fiasco, as a wake-up call, for them to pay serious attention to the maintenance of hygiene and amenities in various tourist spots, so as to avoid complaints and poor rating by international tourists and visitors.
Goh, who is also President of the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) was speaking at the launch of the Torch Run for Kota Kinabalu, held in conjunction with the 38th National Chinese Cultural Festival (NCCF), at the Padang Merdeka here today.
Also in attendance were Goh’s spouse Puan Sri Joanne Ho, Deputy Agriculture and Food Security Minister cum Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin, Chinese Consul-General in Kota Kinabalu Huang Shifang, FCAS Deputy President cum Organising Chairman for 38th NCCF Datuk Susan Wong, her deputy who is also FCAS Vice President Kapitan Fung Chun Fatt and various Chinese community leaders, among others.
Goh noted that among complaints from tourists received by Tiong include food poisoning due to poor hygiene in Semporna. This had resulted in some tourists suffering diarrhea and others having to be admitted to hospital.
Besides this, Tiong had also received several complaints from travellers who visited Sempona regarding poor cleanliness there with rubbish left strewn about, causing foul stench, as well as poor conditions at certain lodging facilities. Tiong had also requested his Deputy Minister Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan to personally go down to Semporna to better evaluate the actual situation there and to help solve the issues.
“The Minister had also warned that a red notice would be issued if the situation persisted,” said Goh.
He thus hoped all quarters concerned could seriously look into the issues and take necessary measures to rectify them.
He also opined that cleanliness of various tourist destinations in Semporna should be the shared responsibility of all quarters including the local authorities, tourism and hotel operators, as well as the local residents and the tourists.
As for the food poisoning issue, he opined that the business operator involved should bear the responsibility and take immediate action to rectify it, as it had seriously put people’s life and health at risk.
He also hoped Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor could pay special attention to this issue, especially to instruct the State Cabinet to instruct all the relevant government agencies to come out with concrete measures to tackle the problem effectively.