SEMPORNA - Contrary to the negative claims of some resort operators, the presence of uniformed security personnel at island resorts is actually being welcomed by tourists.
Many tourists at the diving resorts seemed happy and were seen talking and even taking pictures with the uniformed personnel who turned up at the various resorts for Ops Gasak.
"I like their presence here. I feel safer after what had happened to the Taiwanese couple," said Betty Xiangna Jin, an information technology worker from Shanghai.
Jin, who was holidaying with her friend Gan Gan Cao at Mabul Island for the last two days, said that she was a little frightened about coming to Sabah after hearing of the Nov 15 murder and kidnapping on Pom Pom Island.
"Now that I am here, I see the army, and I feel very safe," she said.
Jin believed that tourists would feel safer with the presence of soldiers, and not threatened.
However, a staff member at one of the resorts said that while the presence of uniformed personnel was good, they must be in full uniform at all times.
"We don't want them in civilian clothing or half uniform as it can alarm our guests," said the staff member who declined to be named.
"The view that uniformed personnel would turn off or strike fear in tourists is not true. In fact, they are happy with the presence of the security personnel," said Datuk Mohammad Mentek, the Eastern Sabah Security Command director-general.