Sabah DCM orders MAB, Immigration to buck up

Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew (middle) with Mayor Yeo Boon Hai (in blue shirt) during the visit to Tanjung Aru beach today.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew has taken two federal agencies to task following complaints about their services at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) here.

Liew said the Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAB) and Immigration Department should improve on their services after she read a letter from a “corporate man” from Sabah who complained of dirty toilets at the airport and long lines at the Immigration counter.

The Tawau MP said the man had arrived on a midnight flight from South Korea last week.

“There was another flight from China and he was so embarrassed by the dirty and smelly toilets.

“The lines at the Immigration counter was so long, the visitors had to wait for more than an hour. This is totally unacceptable, it is inefficiency,” she said after a visit to the Tanjung Aru beach here today.

Liew, who is also Sabah tourism, culture and environment minister, said although MAB and Immigration were not under her purview, she would take responsibility for the shortcomings.

“Everybody is blaming the tourism board, that we’re not doing our job when actually it has nothing to do with us. But we cannot push the ball around. I’m not going to start the culture of ‘you blame me, I blame you back, this is not my job’.

Tourists at the Tanjung Aru beach, which stretches for 2.2km.

“We want the Immigration department and MAB to buck up – make sure the toilets are clean. If these set of workers cannot or are not willing to do their job, please replace them. Change them so they can do their jobs.

“And to the Immigration department, please add more officers on duty. You know how many airlines will be coming in,” she said.

Liew said she would be making surprise visits to KKIA to see whether conditions improve, adding that she would inform the press if they did not.

“This is my stern warning to them. In my next surprise visit, I’m going to take videos and photos and put these in the newspapers.

“I don’t want to see these things happening again. I would like this to be improved,” said the Sabah PKR chief.

Meanwhile, Liew said she is considering using a portion of her allocation as an elected representative to spruce up the Tanjung Aru beachfront, which is a famous spot for locals and tourists.

Liew, who is also the Api-Api assemblyman, said she wanted to discuss with Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong, who is the Tanjung Aru assemblyman, if they could combine funds to spruce up the beach.

The abandoned site which used to house a hawker centre at Tanjung Aru beach.

“This is for the sake of the beautification of this beachfront. With both of us combined, maybe we can do something better than going at it alone,” she said.

Liew was accompanied by Mayor Yeo Boon Hai during her inspection of the beachfront, which was part of the multi-billion Tanjung Aru Eco-Development (TAED), a project approved by the previous government.

The new state government has put the project on hold for now.

“Whether the government proceeds with the project or make modifications to it, we are not going to wait when it comes to preserving this area,” she said.

Liew said the mayor had agreed to re-open two public toilets in the area, station 25 workers to look after the cleanliness and restore the rubbish collection service.

“At least for the time being we have to clean up the place so it will be nice and clean for everyone – I commend Datuk Yeo for the work City Hall has done since my last inspection (last week),” she said.

The Tanjung Aru beach, which stretches about 2.2km, is a favourite recreational spot but the area, including the Prince Philip Park which is one of the city’s green lungs, has fallen into a state of neglect since the launch of the TAED in 2013.

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