MATTA finds Sabah travel advisory unfair


Tan: Sabah safe for tourists

THE Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) has expressed regret over the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s decision to raise the terrorism threat level for the islands off Sabah from ‘general’ to ‘high’.

The advisory warned “against all but essential travel to all islands off the coast of eastern Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, including (but not limited to) Lankayan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Kapalai, Ligitan, Sipadan and Mataking”.

Tan Kok Liang, inbound vice president, MATTA, said: “The travel advisory was based on a high-profile kidnapping in May last year. But crime and terrorism can happen anywhere and anytime. It is a global issue not exclusive to Sabah.

“For example, a group of terrorists killed 130 people and injured another 368 in Paris last November but there was no travel advisory against visiting France or the capital city, and rightly so.”

Tan added that he was prepared to host stays for those issuing travel advisories so that they can report on the actual safety and security situation, instead of creating fear and frightening tourists away from Sabah.

He also said that reports from the ground indicate there are no imminent threats to the public.

“The travel advisory would be more fair and balanced if the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office had verified information with the Malaysian Ministries of Home Affairs or Foreign Affairs,” he said.

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