KOTA KINABALU: Sabah remains a popular and safe travel destination despite the recent kidnappings of fishermen in the state's east coast.
Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) Sabah - Labuan Chapter chairman Gordon Seet said while they viewed the news seriously as the safety of tourists was the utmost priority, the incident was away from tourist areas, where fishing was done during curfew hours without a permit.
"MAH is confident that the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) is in full control in safeguarding the security area that covers 1,400km of the east coast of Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, including protecting the island resorts.
"It is safe to travel to Sabah, and the Sandakan and Tawau districts are ideal destinations for nature and seafood lovers.
"Tours to the islands there are safe since security in the east coast of Sabah is under control under Esscom supervision," he said in a statement on Wednesday (June 19).
The latest kidnapping on Tuesday (June 18), involving 10 sea gypsies from two fishing vessels off Lahad Datu waters near the international border, is believed to be motivated by ransom.
However, police said no ransom calls have been made so far to the Sabah-based employers of the fishermen.