Liew refutes claims of non-attendance at Tourism Ministry meetings

Liew refutes claims of non-attendance at Tourism Ministry meetings

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew has said that she has attended meetings in Putrajaya, contrary to claims by Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

Refuting Tiong's claims that she never attended meetings to discuss issues pertaining to the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, Liew said she had personally attended a meeting in Putrajaya on May 11 last year, chaired by Tiong.

"On occasions when I was not available, I sent representatives to attend other meetings called by the Tourism Ministry," said Liew in a statement on Monday (June 10).

Liew said that she had sent officials from the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry and the Sabah Tourism Board to attend the Tourism Ministry meetings on November 6 and 14 last year.

"On Dec 19, 2023, the then Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry permanent secretary attended the fourth meeting, while the deputy permanent secretary I, the principal assistant secretary, and a senior research officer from the Sabah Tourism Board attended the fifth meeting on January 16 this year," Liew explained.

Of the five meetings, Tiong only chaired three, while the other two were chaired by the ministry’s secretary-general and the Tourism Ministry deputy minister, respectively.

"According to my ministry's reports, none of the five meetings ever discussed the MM2H programme. We (the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry) were never invited to any meeting specifically to discuss the programme," Liew asserted.

Touching on the Sabah-Malaysia My Second Home (Sabah-MM2H) programme, Liew stated that it was approved by the Sabah State Cabinet in 2023, with continuous efforts to refine all criteria until May 2024.

"The Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry was tasked with formulating and implementing the programme. Since then, we have been developing the terms and conditions for participation.

"For each of our meetings in Sabah regarding Sabah-MM2H, my ministry invited the Tourism Ministry Sabah office, the Immigration Department, police, and the Chief Minister’s Department’s Internal Affairs Office to attend," Liew said.

She said the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry was prepared to launch the programme on June 1, 2024, but had to call it off following the Tourism Ministry's announcement to suspend the operations of all licensed agents processing new applications, effective immediately, through a directive dated May 27, 2024, which affected agents in East Malaysia.

Liew stressed that the Tourism Ministry's abrupt decision surprised many stakeholders, including agents, purchasers, potential investors, and the Sabah State Cabinet.

"Furthermore, the Tourism Ministry never discussed their decision with the Sabah government.

"In response, my ministry wrote to the Tourism Ministry on May 28, 2024, appealing against the suspension of licensed agents, particularly those in Sabah who still hold valid licences issued by the Tourism Ministry.

"We also stated that if our appeal was unsuccessful, my ministry would appoint and authorise state representatives to process applications for the Sabah-MM2H programme," Liew said.

She said the Tourism Ministry responded on May 31, stating that no one is allowed to process new applications for the Sabah-MM2H programme until further notice.

Liew reiterated that Sabah will proceed with its own Sabah-MM2H programme, emphasising that the state and neighbouring Sarawak have different policies and should not be included in the programme for Peninsular Malaysia.

"We agree with Sarawak's Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Minister, Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, that Sabah and Sarawak have our own conditions for our programme.

"Therefore, we (Sabah) will proceed accordingly," Liew concluded.

  • https://www.msn.com/en-my/news/national/liew-refutes-claims-of-non-attendance-at-tourism-ministry-meetings/ar-BB1nWKEo?ocid=00000000

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