KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew has dispelled accusations that the sudden removal of Sabah Tourism Board (STB) general manager Suzaini Sabdin Ghani was politically motivated.
The Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment (KePKAS) Minister also dismissed allegations that she was involved in Suzaini's removal, which she said was solely the decision of STB's board of directors (BoD).
"I don't consider it political, because I've only been appointed as the KepKAS minister 10 months ago. How can it be political?
"Anyway, this is is STB's internal affair. It's their BoD's decision and I respect that," Liew told reporters after launching the Komuniti Sejahtera KEMAS programme at SK Sacred Heart here on Saturday (April 20).
Recently, a news portal reported that tourism players in Sabah were shocked by Suzaini's sudden removal as general manager, whom they said had done a good job improving the state's tourism industry.
Her successor has been identified as Noredah Othman, who was previously STB deputy general manager with 29 years of experience in the industry.
Liew stressed that she does not intervene in the decisions made by STB, and that she trusted the BoD's judgment on Noredah's appointment.
"How would you like it if every time the BoD wants to make a decision about something, I intervene? I don't think I will do that.
"It's all internal, and I'm very sure that they know what they are doing.
"My only concern was whether they had a suitable candidate for the job. When they told me the acting general manager has served 29 years in the industry and is a Muslim bumiputra, I just accepted it," she added.
Liew said her focus right now was to move forward with the new general manager and to give Noredah time to ease into her new position.
"Noredah is a very experienced person. Prior to her appointment as acting general manager, she was already the deputy general manager for the past few years.
"We should let her settle in (her new position) and do her job," she added.
Noredah is the longest-serving officer with STB and has held various positions since 1990 and was the board's deputy general manager since 2016.
She completed her education in Singapore and was a Pata (Pacific Asia Travel Association) scholarship recipient for the 2015 Executive Development for Tourism (EDIT) Programme held at the University of Hawaii Manoa.