Irene Charuruks, key figure in transforming Sabah tourism, passes away

KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah Tourism Board general manager Datuk Irene Benggon Charuruks, who played a pivotal role in transforming the tourism industry here when she held the post for 25 years, passed away on Monday (Feb 15).

It was learnt that Charuruks, who just turned 70 last week, passed away at 4.12pm on Monday (Feb 15) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

She was admitted to the hospital a few days ago, but as of 7pm, no details had been released on the cause of death.

Charuruks helmed the board from 1991 to 2016, when Gordon Yapp, her deputy at the time, took over.

Meanwhile, the Sabah government has extended condolences to Charuruks’ family.

“On behalf of the state government, I would like to extend condolences to Charuruks’ family," said state Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun at the end of the virtual press conference to update the daily Covid-19 developments in Sabah.

“The late Irene contributed massively to Sabah’s tourism industry, to the extent that the state tourism has become an example to other states in Malaysia.

"This was due to her hard work," he said.

Masidi, who previously served as state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister for 10 years when she was helming the board, said that he had lost a good friend.

“During the years I had known her, she was always actively and aggressively promoting our tourism.

“The late Irene had excelled in her services and was internationally recognised for her work. May her soul rest in peace, ” he added.

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