KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew has denied accusations that the sudden removal of Sabah Tourism Board (STB) general manager Suzaini Sabdin Ghani was politically motivated or that she was involved in her dismissal.
Liew, who is also State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said Suzaini’s removal was the sole decision of STB’s board of directors.
“I don’t consider it political because I’ve only been appointed as the minister 10 months ago. How can it be political?
“Anyway, this is STB’s internal affair. It’s their board’s decision and I respect that,” Liew told reporters after launching the Komuniti Sejahtera Kemas programme at SK Sacred Heart here yesterday.
An online portal had reported that tourism players in Sabah were shocked by Suzaini’s removal as general manager, who 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’s deputy general manager.
Liew stressed that she did not interfere in the decisions made by STB and that she trusted its board’s judgment on Noredah’s appointment.
“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.
She has been the board’s deputy general manager since 2016.
She completed her education in Singapore and was a Pacific Asia Travel Association scholarship recipient for the 2015 Executive Development for Tourism Programme held at University of Hawaii Manoa.