24 Sabah tour guides give statement over protest


KOTA KINABALU: A group of tour guides who staged a recent protest at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) here over the alleged use of unlicensed foreign tour guides have given their statements to the Sabah office of the federal tourism and culture ministry.

Only 24 guides went to the ministry’s local office to give their statements although an estimated 40 people were reported to have protested at the KKIA arrival hall.

The ministry’ Sabah director Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar told FMT that the statements by the guides would be discussed at its headquarters this weekend.

During the protest, the tour guides had aired their dissatisfaction over the use of foreigners as tour guides which they said affected their rice bowl.

The protest caused dozens of arriving Chinese tourists to be stranded for two hours at the airport.

Both the federal ministry and the Sabah tourism, culture and environment ministry condemned the protest and said the airport was not the correct venue for the tour guides to express their unhappiness.

The federal ministry also said the foreigners accused of being tour guides were actually tour leaders.

The Sabah Tour Guides Association said it would compile a list of grouses faced by its members and make recommendations to the Sabah tourism ministry.

The federal ministry said a committee would be formed to review the tour guides system.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said it would investigate the protest and determine if there was any wrongdoing by tourism-related government agencies and those in the private sector.