KOTA KINABALU: Sabah wants to be known to visitors not just for its stunning landscapes but also for the ability of its multi-religious society to co-exist harmoniously.
Assistant Tourism, Culture, and Environment Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said with over 40 ethnic groups, Sabah's population diversity is one of the state's strengths contributing to its distinctive makeup.
"Sabah's multicultural population has proven adept at overcoming religious and cultural barriers to unity.
"The locals' friendly nature and peaceful existence have become an important selling point.
"Religious and racial extremism has no place in Sabah and cannot be tolerated here.
"We coexist harmoniously, and that shows in the proximity of our places of worship," he said citing the State Mosque, Sacred Heart Church, the Sikh Gurduwala, and the Peak Nam Tung Buddhist temple in the State Capital, which were located within a 6km radius, as an example.
He said the Sabah Tourism Board was looking into introducing a "harmony walk or harmony ride" covering all four places of worship to highlight the peaceful co-existence of Sabah's multi-religious society, which could potentially become a unique attraction to tourists.
Bangkuai, who was also the chairman of the Sabah Tourism Board, said this at a dinner organised by a Korean cosmetics maker on Sunday (March 19) at a resort here.
"I say this because, in Sabah, we don't just want to be renowned for the beauty of our fauna and nature, but also the people,” he added.