KOTA KINABALU: Dive centre operators should hold "refresher" courses on the proper code of conduct after a local divemaster was arrested in Semporna for kissing a tourist from China.
Sabah Dive Squad Club president Sim Fui said that it was important for divemasters to remain professional and maintain a high level of professionalism.
"The divemasters must not be overly friendly with their clients or students," he said in a statement on Monday (May 8).
He said that the operators must also ensure all diving instructors or divemasters have valid diving certifications.
"We always support our local dive centres and diving as a sport. Most of our divers are professional, but this incident should not have happened.
"Although we do understand that diving instructors and masters have to be hospitable to their clients, they still have to be professional," he said.
Sim said that the code of ethics was important to protect the reputation of the diving industry and tourism sector.
"It will also prevent legal suits against dive operators," said Sim, whose club encourages divers to participate in marine environment and ecosystem programmes as well as to promote diving and community-based tourism and conservation.
Semporna police confirmed Monday (May 8) that they arrested a 27-year-old freelance divemaster who allegedly kissed a China tourist while underwater.
He is alleged to have molested her in waters off Semporna at about 1pm on May 5. The woman lodged a report on May 6 before returning to China.
The suspect was arrested on May 7 and is being remanded until May 11 to facilitate investigations for using criminal force to outrage the modesty of the woman under Section 354 of Penal Code.
The incident went viral when it was shared on Facebook, with alleged screenshot conversations between the victim and the accused as well as a picture of the woman being kissed by the accused.