Sabah and Sarawak united in fight for tourism control, says Sabah minister

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah and neighbouring Sarawak have united in their fight for control over tourism rights, says Datuk Christina Liew.

The Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister said it is never too late to assert what rightfully belongs to the East Malaysian states.

She was commenting on a statement by Sarawak's Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts, Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Hamzah, who said discussions are ongoing with Putrajaya to determine how much control the Tourism, Arts, and Culture Ministry (Motac) will relinquish over tourism matters in the two Borneo territories.

According to Abdul Karim, this follows the transfer of tourism from the federal list to the concurrent list in the federal constitution.

"Sabah and Sarawak are joining hands on this issue. Whatever is right for Sabah and Sarawak, it is never too late to pursue," Liew told reporters at the 25th PKR Anniversary and Kaamatan Festival 2024 in Kota Kinabalu on Sunday (June 16).

Also present were PKR vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar and Sabah PKR chief Datuk Mustapha Sakmud.

Liew added that she would raise the issue with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor at the coming Cabinet meeting.

"I will also pass it to Deputy Chief Minister I, Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, the Sabah government representative for the special meeting on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), to raise this issue in their next meeting," she said.

Abdul Karim was quoted on Saturday (June 15) as saying Motac should be aware that tourism should have been under the residual list until the federal government ‘secretly’ moved it to the federal list.

"If it is under the residual list, it would have been totally a state matter. But we, Sarawak and Sabah, have decided to compromise and place it under the concurrent list.

The decision to move tourism from the federal list to the state list was made at last month's Malaysia Agreement 1963 Implementation Action Council Technical Committee meeting.

"Nobody saw the importance of tourism in 1963. Tourism was not even discussed. It was not on the federal list.

"Neither was it in the state list nor the concurrent list. If it is not on the federal, state or concurrent list, then it should be in the residual list.”

Karim said if it is in the residual list, it becomes a state matter.

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