BENTONG: Stern action must be taken against those responsible for the catamaran tragedy in Sabah, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
“I have directed the Jabatan Laut Sabah to aid in the investigations so that we can come up with measures to ensure incidents like this do not happen again.
“We treat such a tragedy seriously because it has tainted our public image at a time when we are promoting Sabah as a tourist destination.
“This incident shows that we do have some weaknesses and while we have rules and regulations, the enforcement must be looked at,” he told reporters after attending a Chinese New Year event at the Taman Hussein flats.
Liow attended a total of six Chinese New Year events here yesterday, including Sungai Penjuring New Village, Batu 1 Jalan Tras flats, Taman Saga and Kampung Chamang.
He said the number of tourists and crewmen on board the catamaran was far too high.
He said all boats leaving the jetty must have a signalling system so that if a vessel capsizes, it can be tracked for search and rescue faster.
Liow said the small boats were generally registered at the state level and not with the federal authorities there.
“Boats below 15 tonnes are usually meant for tourism and operate at the local council level.
“The ministry will work with the state government and come up with suggestions to prevent this from happening again.
“The investigation team will definitely study the cause of the accident, but one thing we need to address is the overloading problem,” he said.
Liow also called on boat operators to abide by safety rules.
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