Respect local customs and dress appropriately, Sabah minister tells tourists

KOTA KINABALU: Travellers in Sabah are advised to respect local customs and dress appropriately.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Christina Liew said it was common sense for tourists visiting countries they were not familiar with to understand local conditions and traditions.

She said it was important they respect the local customs and be mindful of their actions at all times, and to dress appropriately according to situation and location.

She said it had come to their attention that several distasteful photos had been taken near the Sabah Tourism Board building and another around the city.

"It is disheartening to know that there is such malicious intention," said Liew in referring to recently circulating photos of a woman dressed in bikini and another allegedly posing half naked in the city.

She said the ministry was investigating the authenticity of the account and images.

"Nevertheless, we seek your consideration to report the image and account if you happen to come across it to minimise any other occurrence," she said.

On the photo of the bikini-clad traveller, Liew said the picture was believed to have been taken about a month ago.

"Yes, Kota Kinabalu is considered an island town because of its proximity to islands, namely the Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks, Sepanggar and the Tanjung Aru Beach.

"However, I am sure that unlike other beach destinations, one can notice that the wandering population in the city centre is not dressed in beach attire all around," she said.

Liew said people should be able to tell by observation that the city centre was still for business dwellers with a mix of tourist accents.

Through the Sabah Tourism Board, travellers were often reminded of the dress code and customary practices.

On Wednesday (Oct 18), Kota Kinabalu OCPD Asst Comm Zaidi Abdullah said they had not received any report on the half naked photos but were checking on it.

He said such actions, if proven to have happened, violated laws under Section 294 (a) of the Penal Code for doing any obscene act in any public place.

Meanwhile, investigating officials urged the public to come forward to provide details on this matter, and called on them to also lodge police reports on this.

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