KOTA KINABALU: Authorities in Sabah are still looking for two female tourists, believed to be foreigners, who were filmed dancing indecently near the city mosque in Likas here.
The authorities are also looking for the tour operator responsible for the group.
However, Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew said the government would not mete out harsh punishments on them but emphasised that the women’s actions were unacceptable.
Liew, who is also state tourism, culture and environment minister, said the government would work with the mosque’s management to place signboards on its grounds reminding visitors to behave respectfully at the location.
The ministry would also issue a circular to tourism players to keep their customers’ behaviour in check.
She said she was aware that certain quarters were trying to relate the incident to a public indecency case on Gunung Kinabalu in 2015 when a group of western tourists had stripped and urinated on the mountain.
Four of them were arrested before they were eventually fined and deported.
Liew said the authorities were not looking at charging the two women.
“We don’t want to take such a drastic action but we still need to remind them that this is not acceptable behaviour,” she said today.
“We don’t want the same thing to happen again. We just need to give a reminder to them. It’s important we erect signboards there, telling (tourists) not to do that.
“(This is) also to remind tour operators that when they bring their tourists to any place of worship, not just this one, the tourists should not behave in such a manner,” she said.
Liew said the signboards at the mosque would be in two or three languages and would advise tourists that they were at a place of worship and must not do things that were offensive or disrespectful.
Liew said the tour operator should be accountable for the incident.
“The tour operator should be able to remind them. We are still trying to identify the tour operator. Because they (tourists) might not know, they may think this was fun but they have to show respect,” she said.
“This incident is an eye-opener… Let’s hope such incidents will not happen again.”
Assistant tourism, culture and environment minister Assafal Alian yesterday issued a strongly-worded statement to voice the ministry’s condemnation against the women’s behaviour.
This was after a nine-second video, which went viral on social media, showed the women, in brief shorts and tops, dancing on the mosque’s perimeter concrete wall.
Following the incident, the mosque imposed a temporary ban on tourists at the iconic landmark in the state capital.