KOTA KINABALU: Any lifting of the interstate travel ban for Sabah will depend on the overall Covid-19 situation in the country, says Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
“We are still looking at (Covid-19) data from other states, ” he said when responding to growing calls from tourism industry players for the state to lift the interstate travel ban.
However, Masidi who is the Local Government and Housing Minister declined to commit any time frame for the lifting of the movement ban even as tourism players continue to plead with the government to consider allowing the entry of tourists by putting in place strict SOP.
Currently, Sabah only allows Sabahans to come into the state, while non-Sabahans can come in for work-related matters or family emergencies, as long as they have police permits.
They are also required to take a Covid-19 test 72 hours before departure, though those without symptoms are not required to be placed under quarantine upon arrival.
Sabah also retains a ban on inter-district travel, but softens it by creating six zones where people within those zones are able to travel between districts.
Tourism players have been pushing hard for the lifting of inter-zone and interstate movements as shutdowns and movement controls over the past year has literally brought the industry to a standstill.
Weighing on the plight of the tourism industry, Warisan treasurer-general Terrence Siambun said the state must take steps immediately to allow interstate travel as current policies had left tourism players in a lurch.
He said the state government led by Gabungan Rakyat Sabah should not be over dependent on the Federal Government on matters related to Covid-19 management.
Siambun said the state must act on the appeal from many Sabah tourism and hospitality associations, as the sector was facing a bleak moment given that international travel was not expected to recover anytime soon.
He said domestic travel was needed as an immediate measure for the multi-billion ringgit industry to stay afloat until the pandemic ebbs.