Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said Sabah has held discussions with the federal government on ways to ensure the safety of not only locals, but foreign tourists. Pic by STR/LANO LAN.

KOTA KINABALU: The state government is committed to beefing up security in the region to safeguard the people’s safety and boost the tourism sector.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said Sabah has held discussions with the federal government on ways to ensure the safety of not only locals, but foreign tourists.

He said that tourism is one of the sectors that his government will place emphasis on besides timber, oil and gas, and automotive, which would provide employment opportunities for Sabahans.

Mohd Shafie, who is chairman of the Sabah Security Committee, also vowed to take firm action against kidnap-for-ransom groups menacing the region.

"The (kidnappings) are not helping Asean countries.

“(One way to tackle it is to) enhance our trade with neighbouring countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, to develop the region for the betterment of the people," he said, adding that he had conveyed the message to the governors of Mindanao and Sulawesi.

Mohd Shafie was speaking during the state-level Mid-Autumn Lantern festival at Lintasan Deasoka here, last night.

Present were his wife Datin Shuryani Shuaib; Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew; Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai; Consul-General of the People's Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu Liang Caide; and United Sabah Chinese Communities Association of Kota Kinabalu president Datuk Susan Wong.

The Chief Minister also urged the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry to create more tourism products to cater to the growing number of tourists.

Earlier, he said the new state government had contributed RM50,000 to the festival and pledged to continue to support such cultural activities which help it bond with the people and foster unity.

About 1,000 people participated in the lantern parade.