KUCHING: Malaysia Tourism Board (MTB) still has the responsibility to promote Sarawak even after the state government has decided to withdraw the participation of its representative in the MTB, said Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
“The way I see it, Tourism Malaysia (MTB) has got the responsibility to promote all the states. Just because we have taken out our representative from Tourism Malaysia, doesn’t mean they don’t need to promote Sarawak anymore.
“We are still a part of Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia has got to look after it (promoting Sarawak). It is just that we have Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) which is doing the exact same role like what Tourism Malaysia is doing.
“So that is why we do not want this duplication. Might as well we just focus on our own STB to do all this promotion,” he said after receiving a mock cheque from Zurich Insurance Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer Philip Smith during a ceremony here yesterday.
In a statement announcing the state government’s decision to withdraw the participation of its representative in MTB, the Chief Minister’s Office had said the state government deemed that the participation of its representative in MTB is unnecessary as it duplicates the roles and functions of STB.
“We will discuss on that. At least, the representative of Tourism Malaysia can sit in STB and see what we are doing.”
When asked if MTB will still be supporting the RWMF (Rainforest World Music Festival) 2017 after the state government’s decision to withdraw the participation of its representative in MTB, Abdul Karim said: “It is totally not related.”
When asked on Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg’s statement last year that the state government planned to let the private sector organise RWMF, Abdul Karim said if it was the former’s idea then his ministry would look into it.
“There must be a reason for him (Abang Johari) to come up with the idea. If it is not, then we will also have to look into it and how to bring this festival to greater heights,” Abdul Karim said.
He added that his ministry may even consider holding the RWMF elsewhere in the state in the future since the event has been held in Sarawak Cultural Village over the past 20 years.
Abang Johari, who was the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture before Abdul Karim took over the portfolio, said on July 19 last year that the state government planned to let the private sector organise the RWMF starting this year.
At that time, Abang Johari said the matter was being studied to determine whether the future organisation of RWMF would be a joint venture between STB and the private sector or it would be purely organised by the private sector.
Abang Johari said he was in favour of the private sector organising the event.
“They can drive it and they have got innovation. They know best (what the revellers want). We want the private sector to run it but they can make use of this brand.”
Abang Johari explained that the approach taken by him in letting the private sector organise RWMF was similar to the approach taken by the state government in letting the private sector manage national parks.
“It is just like (managing) the national parks where we asked the private sector to do it. If I’m still the minister, my principle is tourism must be private sector-led, not government-led.
“The government will just facilitate as long as it is within what the government wants. So you work on that but the actual activity must be done by the private sector,” he said then. -TheBorneoPost