‘Common sense’ to have security features at resorts, tourism minister says after Nora Quoirin case

Nora Anne Quoirin and her family were staying at Sora House in The Dusun before she was reported missing by her parents on August 4, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Nora Anne Quoirin and her family were staying at Sora House in The Dusun before she was reported missing by her parents on August 4, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 15 — Resort operators are duty-bound to ensure the security of their premises, Datuk Mohammadin Ketapi said today.

The tourism, arts and culture minister was weighing amid scrutiny on the lack of surveillance cameras mounted at The Dusun, a high-end eco-resort in Pantai, Negri Sembilan, where a holidaying teenager stayed and vanished overnight.

“If you want to [run] a resort, you have the duty to have security at the hotel,” Mohamaddin said at a press briefing here on the domestic tourism performance for 2018.

“It’s common sense. Otherwise it would be negligent, guests will not feel safe,” he added.

The disappearance and tragic death of 15-year-old Franco-Irish teen Nora Anne Quoirin this week has cast a spotlight on security features at resorts nationwide, following revelations that closed-circuit television cameras at The Dusun were limited to its reception area.

Irish teenager Nora Quoirin's body was found after a 10-day search and rescue operation that commenced after she had been reported missing from the resort on August 4.  — Picture courtesy of Lucie Blackman Trust
Irish teenager Nora Quoirin's body was found after a 10-day search and rescue operation that commenced after she had been reported missing from the resort on August 4. — Picture courtesy of Lucie Blackman Trust

Quoirin’s body was found in a ravine on Tuesday, just about 2.5km from the resort in Pantai, Negri Sembilan, where she had been holidaying with her family.

The body was found after a 10-day search and rescue operation that commenced after she had been reported missing from the resort on August 4. 

The police have yet to ascertain how she had gone missing but the autopsy performed yesterday found no evidence she was raped or attacked.

Tourism Ministry chief secretary Datuk Isham Ishak said resorts that seek the star rating require some degree of security.

However, he said this ultimately fall within local government’s jurisdiction as the agency that conducts and awards the rating, Tourism Malaysia, could only inspect premises.

“Hotels that are rated one or two stars, for example, are required to have security,” he told reporters here.

“For those that are not rated, we have instructed our officers to identify and approach all of them to encourage these operators to install CCTVs.

“But security matter is up to the local government each local government have their respective laws governing safety. TM cannot enforce.” 

A general view of one of the entrances to The Dusun resort in Seremban. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
A general view of one of the entrances to The Dusun resort in Seremban. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

The tragedy that befell Quoirin has also renewed calls for stronger regulation on non-traditional lodgings, which is becoming increasingly popular among both inbound and domestic travellers.

Many are drawn to them because they tend to be cheaper, while some offer niche experiences that most traditional hotels cannot.

But there is also a downside to renting such accommodations; not having to comply with regulation meant the safety of guests are ultimately left in the hands of premise owners.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohammadin Ketapi said neither Quoirin’s death nor the disappearance of two Singaporeans during a kayak expedition between Pahang and Johor was likely to deter travellers to Malaysia. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohammadin Ketapi said neither Quoirin’s death nor the disappearance of two Singaporeans during a kayak expedition between Pahang and Johor was likely to deter travellers to Malaysia. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

As public concern mounts over the safety of non-traditional lodgings, Putrajaya has said it would soon regulate the industry. But details of the policy remain scarce.

Meanwhile, Mohamaddin said neither Quoirin’s death nor the disappearance of two Singaporeans during a kayak expedition between Pahang and Johor was likely to deter travellers to Malaysia.

He said tourist should feel safe as long as they take basic precautions.

“We cannot make a promise that nothing would happen, that you will live long here,” he said.

“These things happen everywhere. They have to ensure their own safety like making sure to book with the right agents, those registered with the ministry.”

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