Talks being held to bring cruise ships to Sabah, says DCM

Sabah deputy chief minister Christina Liew hopes a five-year contract could be signed.

KOTA KINABALU: Talks are being held with two cruise ship operators in Hong Kong to begin cruise services in Sabah, deputy chief minister Christina Liew said today.

She said the businessmen owned three cruise ships and had expressed interest in services in the state.

“I hope to complete negotiations with them in three months and hopefully we could sign a five-year contract with them,” she said.

Liew said the cruise-ship operators would bring Chinese tourists from Beijing and Shanghai via charter flight for a night’s stay in Kota Kinabalu before boarding the ships for an 8-to-10-day cruise in Sabah waters.

“The ship is expected to call at Kudat in the north coast and proceed to Sandakan, Tawau and Semporna on the east coast,” said Liew.

On another matter, Liew said she was awaiting a report about an Indonesian man who was arrested in Nunukan, Indonesia, with four elephant tusks purportedly from Tawau.

She noted that Sabah’s border is too long for the security personnel to be able to fully secure the areas. However, she said she had full confidence in Immigration and Customs personnel in securing the state.

“I still have faith in our men. but my concern is where did the man acquire the two tusks from,” she said.

According to media reports, the arrested man told Indonesian authorities that he departed from Tawau and that the tusks were believed to have been brought from the Sabah district.

Tawau police chief Peter Umbuas said a meeting was held with the wildlife department following the incident to identify the loopholes in the entry and exit points in the district.