Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Remove travel advisory on Sabah, US urged

The Foreign Ministry has urged the US Ambassador to Malaysia to review the travel alert for the popular tourist destination of eastern Sabah in light of the “sound security arrangement” and assurances by Malaysian leaders.
The ministry’s deputy secretary-general I Datuk Mohd Radzi Abd Rahman, who met with US Ambassador James R. Keith on Monday, said that the travel alert could create a wrong, misleading and negative impression to the outside world on the security situation in Malaysia as a whole, in relation to terrorist threats.
Radzi claimed that the actual security situation in the eastern part of Sabah -- including Mabul, Sipadan and Semporna -- was far from what was detailed in the travel alert issued by the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the US State Department on Jan 15.
“The travel alert has generated anxiety, confusion and surprise from Malaysian leaders and the public over the alleged security situation in the popular tourist resorts in Eastern Sabah,” said a statement issued by the ministry on Tuesday.
Last Friday, the US State Department issued a travel alert advising Americans to consider the risks associated with travel to eastern Sabah due to the possible threats from terrorist and criminal groups.
Radzi said the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and heads of Malaysian security agencies have issued statements and assurances on the actual security situation in the region.
He also emphasised that the Government was fully committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of visitors and citizens alike.
“Foreign travellers and tourists need not be unduly worried when coming to Sabah as the situation is peaceful,” it said.


US issues travel advisory for Sabah

KUALA LUMPUR: The United States warned its citizens Friday that criminals and terrorists could be plotting attacks on foreigners in Sabah.
“There are indications that both criminal and terrorist groups are planning or intend acts of violence against foreigners in eastern Sabah, notwithstanding the government of Malaysia’s increased ability to detect, deter and prevent such attacks,” according to a travel advisory posted on the website of the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
The advisory noted that al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants based in the southern Philippines, which is a short boat ride from Sabah, have kidnapped foreigners from Sabah’s secluded resort areas in the past.
It urged Americans to “avoid or use extreme caution” in connection to travel plans to those areas.
Police officials contacted in Sabah said they were not immediately aware of the advisory and declined to comment.

Source : STAR  STAR2
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