One-stop centre can help boost MICE, says Sabah minister

KOTA KINABALU: A one-stop centre should be put in place to expedite processing and approvals for licences and permits by international event organisers, says Datuk Christina Liew.

The state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister said she had received complaints about delays in obtaining the necessary permits from several international event organisers recently.

“We urgently need a one-stop centre to do away with bureaucratic obstacles or administrative hurdles during the application processing stage.

“It is very frustrating for the event organisers if it takes two to three months for them to get a reply,” Liew said after a courtesy call by a delegation from the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) and Business Events (BE) Committee headed by Sitti Damsal.

The committee is under the Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC) chaired by Tan Sri David Chu.

Liew said a one-stop centre was necessary, especially once the Sabah Convention Bureau (SCB) formalised its marketing team, and it would have to move very fast in bidding for MICE events.

“To promote Sabah tourism, the MICE and BE Committee must work with us (SCB) for pre- and post-events for MICE participants.

“Rest assured, my ministry will always give its full support for any MICE event brought to Sabah by the committee,” Liew said in response to a presentation on bidding for key regional or international events by the committee secretary Mona Abdul Manap.

According to Chu, industry players have raised problems arising from the “long wait” for a licence or permit for the last 20 years.

SEAC member Datuk John Lo also said that if there was no reply from the relevant authority after 30 days, then the application should be considered as approved.

Sitti also informed the minister that it would defeat the purpose of encouraging MICE events to be held in Sabah if organisers face difficulties in securing a licence and permit for their proposed business events.

“We must avoid delaying the processing of these applications,” Liew said, adding that it was not conducive for any industry for that matter.

“People in the business industry (tourism, service, logistics, manufacturing, production, entertainment, etc) have to move fast.

“Time is an important factor, and they can’t afford to waste precious time,” she said.

Sabah International Convention Centre chief executive officer Datuk Rosmawati Lasuki said at least two prospective events had to be cancelled this year due to delays in obtaining the necessary permits.

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