BINTULU, June 24 — Federal Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing is urging relevant parties to refrain from attacking the measures by his ministry without basis through all kinds of channels for their personal agendas or to gain political capital.

He said a certain opportunist, with just a few words, had published biased and misleading comments — blindly and needlessly belittling the long-standing efforts and struggles of his ministry officials for Sabah tourism.

He said this was highly insulting to the decades-long work the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) has put in.


“Since assuming this office, I have been fortunate to have a group of dedicated colleagues who have worked tirelessly alongside me to promote Malaysian tourism, including boosting Sabah’s tourism and economic development.

“Now their efforts have been inexplicably attacked and belittled, which is highly regrettable,” said Tiong on Facebook.

The Bintulu MP pointed out that he had no intention of starting any ‘war of words’ but simply wanted to defend his officials.


“If there are doubts or dissatisfaction with any measures implemented by my ministry, feel free to contact me directly.

“I am willing to have constructive discussions with anyone. What I emphasise is that while I am willing to answer criticisms, do not take this to mean that anyone can insult Motac officials,” he said.

According to him, Motac recognises Sabah as a prominent tourist destination for Malaysia and strives to enhance its competitiveness, convenience and tourism safety, including opening chartered flights to connect to Sabah.

This, he said, will attract more international tourists from around the world and promote economic growth.

He said from August 2023 to May this year, the department had actively engaged with relevant parties, including a crucial meeting on May 24 with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji to discuss enhancing Sabah’s tourism quality, strengthening safety guidelines, and improving airport clearance efficiency.

Furthermore, he added, Motac had requested the Sabah government to provide a master plan for tourism development.

“However, over the past eight to nine months, we haven’t seen a single page of this master plan. So, I ask, who is really not supporting Sabah’s tourism industry,” he said.

Tiong stressed that his ministry is focused on the issues, not the individuals, and they are not seeking credit, but simply trying their best to solve problems as they arise.

“Therefore, I hope everyone can speak honestly and provide ‘reasonable evaluations’ of our department officials,” he said.

With the new MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) regulations released, Tiong said Motac is once again under fire from many parties.

He believed that certain regulations do not favour some people’s financial prospects, leading to drastic measures, elaborate news articles, or even ‘seeking protection’, with no concern about senior Sabah officials not attending important meetings.

“I hope those involved can honestly ask themselves, are their statements truly for the local government and the country, or are they stirring up trouble for no reason?

“This includes an article by Datuk John Lo of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC), published in the Daily Express under the title ‘Motac Has Rendered Little Assistance To Sabah On Tourism Promotion Since 1980s To Now’, wholly dismissing the efforts of Motac and insulting our officials.

“After all, the new MM2H regulations had consumed much time and effort of my ministry officials, only after numerous adjustments did it come into effect smoothly,” he said, and hoped that it would encourage people from around the world to choose Malaysia as their second home, thereby contributing to national economic growth and improving people’s lives.

He added Motac welcomes constructive criticism from all sectors, but will absolutely not tolerate the deliberate spreading of baseless accusations. — The Borneo Post pic