ALOR SETAR, Aug 24 — Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture today expressed confidence that the tragedy involving the 15-year-old Irish teenager Nora Anne Quoirin will not affect the number of tourist arrivals to Malaysia next year in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2020.
Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said although he was deeply saddened and sympathised with the family of young Nora Anne, the incident should not be an excuse for certain quarters to say that Malaysia is not safe for tourists.
“If anyone says Malaysia is not safe, we want to know why. In a recent incident, for example, a Yemeni tourist died after falling from a jet ski while trying to take a selfie. It is a result of self-neglect.
“Such incidents can happen in any country but it does not affect the number of tourist arrivals to the country,” he told reporters when asked on whether the tourism industry would be affected by the tragic death of Nora Anne whose body was found on August 13 about 2.5km from a resort in Pantai, Negri Sembilan, 10 days after she was reported missing.
Nora Anne and her family had checked at the resort on August 3 for a two-week holiday. The police revealed on August 15 that the girl had died of gastrointestinal bleeding after having gone without food for a long time as well as prolonged stress.
Meanwhile, Mohamaddin who had earlier officiated the reopening of the Mahathir Mohamad’s Birthplace Complex at Lorong Kilang Ais here said his ministry would try to assist the Kedah state government to make the complex as a heritage attraction.
“This is the place where the fourth and seventh prime minister was born. The complex will allow visitors to learn about the life of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“The ministry always ensures that the nation’s heritage is preserved and maintained. That is why the complex has undergone repair twice, namely in 1992 and 2000, and a major upgrade, which took a year to complete from August 2017 to October 2018 at a cost of RM1.8 million,” he explained.
A total of 3.96 million local and foreign tourists have visited the complex from 2013 to 2017 and it is hoped that number would increase after the reopening of the complex in conjunction with VMY 2020, he said.
“Many exhibits including artefacts and pictures of Dr Mahathir are displayed in the house. Apart from the complex, several additional buildings representing traditional Malay houses known as ‘Rumah Bujang, Rumah Bumbung Lima dan Rumah Bumbung Panjang were also built in the complex area,” Mohamaddin added. — Bernama