Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Masidi to recommend functions held at hotels


Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Hj Manjun will recommend to the State Cabinet at its meeting this Friday not to cancel official events and seminars scheduled at the hotels here, despite the cost—cutting measures announced by the Federal Government. “The State Government has taken great lengths to promote and organise many activities to make Sabah a premier tourist destination, and tourism has certainly contributed significantly to the State economy. “I would convince the Cabinet to make an exception to Sabah so that the industry would not be affected by the cost-cutting measures already being implemented in Kuala Lumpur, resulting in certain events, functions and seminars at hotels being cancelled,” said Masidi in an exclusive interview at his office yesterday Masidi said he would try to impress the State Government on the importance of the tourism industry here as the State relies on it. “It is a booming industry now and the tourist arrivals are rising, which is a very encouraging development. “Besides, the hospitality industry or tourism employs a large number of people, and if the industry loses its revenue due to the cost-cutting measures and there is staff downsizing, there would be unemployment, and I believe this is not the intention of the industry.” Masidi said he is taking the issue seriously as he is concerned that the directive would not affect the hospitality or tourism industry here negatively. What is needed, he pointed out, is wisdom, although as far as he knows, the Sabah Government has not cancelled any of its bookings for functions at hotels. “Personally, I think what is needed here is to take into consideration the most effective manner, for example, avoiding unnecessary expenditure and wastage despite the move made in Kuala Lumpur, whereby the Government has cancelled certain seminars and functions. “I would recommend to the State Cabinet not to cancel the functions and seminars in the hotel industry here but leave it to the respective Ministry to use its discretion and wisdom,” he said. Asked about the choice of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as the Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Illegal Immigrants, Masidi said: “I think what is more relevant and important is that the task should be completed efficiently, credibly and successfully once and for all and agreed to by the Cabinet. “In my view, as the deputy to the Prime Minister, he has the full power and advantages to carry out the task due to his position and authority. “As the Deputy Prime Minister too, Jam sure that his proposal would be more effective, after all, I believe all Sabahans Want the job to be done well as this issue has been going on since the early 1970s.” The Committee, he said, may provide a roadmap to tackle the problem so that it could be solved immediately. In the early stages, he said, the problem might have been tackled behind closed doors, based on the Sabahan culture to be diplomatic with the issue, for example, by avoiding the use of harsh words. “Actually in tackling this kind of problem, we do not need to shout in order to be heard. I have been very vocal in a lot of things that need to be addressed, but I feel that we need not shout to get things done as we are free to express how we feel and how we think about it. “I have noticed that a lot of us have been very vocal too but we also realise that we are one of the Barisan Nasional component parties,” he said. Masidi cited the example of a family dispute, saying there is no need to burn the house in order to get pocket money from one’s parents. Doing so, he pointed out, does not make sense and shows little respect for the leader. “I have gone through life learning to be independent and bold but at the same time, I have not discarded the basic cultural elements when demanding something,” he added .

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