The management of Sipadan island will be handed over to the State Government and tourism authorities from the current Malaysian Security Council once the matter has been decided at the federal level.
According to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal all this while the management part of the island had been carried out by the Malaysian Security Council (MKN). However, he said the Federal Government is ready to return management of the island back to Sabah.
He said he had brought up the matter with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during several meetings and last when he chaired the Special Cabinet Committee on the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“I was made to understand it has already been agreed upon except we haven’t received the letter yet for its implementation,” he said.
Once that was done, the Sipadan island’s administration would probably be managed by the (state) Tourism Ministry, Shafie said to the media after meeting a group of Japanese Investors at his office in Wisma PPNS on Monday.
He said he was also looking into ways to review the laws in Sabah on penalty (for fish bombing).
“The penalty is (at present) easy for them to escape. I was made to understand, that sometimes when the accused are brought to the courts, they are just let loose because there is no clear cut (way) in terms of how the enactment or ordinance is provided.
“I think it is long overdue for us to review the law to ensure we can deter these people from not only fish bombing but also doing some of the things affecting the safety of tourists visiting the state. Security for tourists is a long term engagement and we don’t want a repeat of the recent incident.
“We must put a stop to the fish bombing because it's not healthy and a danger not only to the environment but the seafood we eat every day.”
On the Japanese investors courtesy visit to him, Shafie said they were interested at looking into the possibility of setting up a solar-powered hotel resort on one of the islands off Kota Kinabalu and a 10-hectare plot of land near Kota Kinabalu to set up a solar organic chicken and egg farm.
However, the matter was still at the suggestion stage.
“It is something that we can look into… their investments are self-funded and they only need land and infrastructure,” he said adding that Sabah to them was an attractive location that was relatively close to their country with many Japanese tourists having already visited Sabah before.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Japanese group, Nikko Doh from Wanoyu Co Ltd said they were looking at investing in the State and was willing to bring in high-end technology from Japan for this purpose. They said they are also looking forward to the support of the State government on the matter.