KOTA KINABALU: Sabah may be known for its flora and fauna but the state also has a history that is equally impressive and worthy of being promoted as a tourism attraction.
State Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai also said efforts should be stepped up to promote heritage tourism in Sabah, highlighting the significance of the state's history.
While Sabah is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, he pointed out, its historical treasures deserved equal attention and active promotion.
Milestones such as its liberation from Japanese occupation, he said, served as a testament to the resilience and bravery of Sabahans who endured hardships during challenging times.
“Countries like South Korea and Vietnam have effectively capitalised on their wartime histories to attract millions of tourists interested in understanding their past,” he said on Friday (Sept 15).
“I believe Sabah can attract history enthusiasts, educators and curious travellers interested in unique chapters of its history,” Bangkuai, who is also Sabah Tourism Board chairman, said after the launch of the History @ Sabah Museum programme at the Heritage Museum in Keningau.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is Keningau MP, was also in attendance.
The Sabah Museum Department organised the programme in conjunction with the 60th Malaysia Day celebrations.
Also present were state Assistant Works Minister Datuk Robert Tawik, Assistant Community Development and Well-Being Minister Datuk Flovia Ng, and Liawan assemblyman Datuk Annuar Ayub.
Bangkuai said Keningau’s Oath Stone was another example, as it highlighted North Borneo's journey to independence from British rule and Sabah's agreement to form Malaysia.
The stone, also known as Batu Sumpah, was erected to commemorate the terms under which the former British Crown Colony of North Borneo came together with the former colony of Sarawak, Singapore and the other states of the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia.
Promoting historical sites could provide valuable insight into the political and social factors that shaped modern Sabah, Bangkuai added.
“These places could become important points of interest for tourists seeking a deeper understanding of the state's evolution.
“Sabah’s rich and compelling history deserves celebration and global sharing, and through aggressive promotion of heritage tourism, the state can not only pay tribute to its past but also foster fresh prospects for economic growth and cultural exchange,” Bangkuai said.