KOTA KINABALU: Both Federal and Sabah state level tourism ministers have condemned illegal fish bombing activities here after the death of three divers in waters off Semporna in Sabah's east coast on Friday (July 5).
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew called for stricter penalties to be imposed on the culprits following the demise of two Chinese tourists and a local dive master near Kalapuan Island.
"While I understand that this incident could have been avoided, the fact that fish bombing still prevails needs to be addressed.
"I urge related authorities and officers within my department to be extra vigilant about this.
"I call for stricter penalties to be imposed on illegal fish bombing that may include a heavy fine and jail term, to deter this kind of damaging activities.
"This incident goes beyond the safety of tourists diving in the area, it also mars the areas which we consider as (natural) treasures," she said in a statement.
Liew said they would also closely monitor developments and extend assistance to the Consulate General of China in Kota Kinabalu if needed.
The two deceased Chinese tourist have been identified as Zhao Zheng and Xu Yingjie, both 26.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi in a separate statement conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims, adding that he would wait for the full police report on the incident.
He said it was of utmost importance to ensure the safety of the tourists.
"We must ensure such an incident does not repeat itself," said the Silam MP, adding that he was aware of previous reports on illegal fish bombing incidents in Sabah waters.
There have not been any reports of divers killed due to fish-bombing activities in Sabah before.
We're sorry, this article is unavailable at the moment. If you wish to read this article, kindly contact our Customer Service team at 1-300-88-7827. Thank you for your patience - we're bringing you a new and improved experience soon!