By BS Reporter
KOTA KINABALU: As we usher in the Lunar Year of the Rat, let us take stock of what we have achieved in the outgoing year and make a resolution for a vibrant year ahead economically, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.
In her Chinese New Year message, she said: “We welcome the Year 2020 with new aspirations and soaring hopes for accelerated development and for an improved quality of life for all citizens. And prayers are a must for preservation of peace and harmony in Sabah.
“2020 is predicted to be a lucky year, so I am optimistic that Malaysia’s economy will fare better. I urge all Malaysians in Sabah to embrace a positive outlook and turn any challenges or threats into opportunities in your personal or professional life.”
Liew, who is also Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, described 2020 as a challenging year by virtue of Visit Malaysia 2020 and being the Year of Culture and Tourism set by Malaysia and China to promote greater people-to-people contact and sustainable socio-economic growth.
“As we wait expectantly for an upsurge of
tourist arrivals, I call on all Sabahans to welcome our visitors with a warm hospitality and informational support,” she said.
According to Liew, the development of new tourism products is definitely on the cards in the State’s tourism development agenda for 2020.
“For instance, we are in the process of providing a ‘home’ for our endangered pangolin. Work on developing the proposed pangolin sanctuary in the Tawau Hills Park is likely to commence this year,” she said.
And given the increasing interest in Sabah as a cruise destination, Liew said Sabah is poised to be at the forefront of promoting the cruise tourism industry which is touted to scale new heights.
“Cruise vessels are no stranger to Sabah. New cruise ships will be bringing thousands of tourists from this year. The good news is that there is a proposal to base one cruise ship in Sabah, a first for the State. This proposal will see the first foreign ship to make Sabah a homeport,” she enthused.
The Minister is happy to note that this initiative is fully supported by Suria Capital Holdings Berhad, being the mandated port operator for the major ports in Sabah through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd.
“We are also in favour of promoting domestic hubbing of cruises between the city and major towns within the State, namely Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Sandakan, Tawau and Lahad Datu for tourists to explore and experience Sabah’s natural attractions and rich cultural heritage,” she added.
Liew reiterated that Sabah is truly an exemplary state in the sense that multi-racial unity prevails and all communities participate in the Chinese New Year celebration because we enjoy a high level of cultural and religious tolerance.
“May the Chinese Lunar New Year shower us with good health, wealth, serenity and happiness. I wish all of you a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year,” she concluded.
GONG XI FA CAI.