KOTA KINABALU - Foreign tourists are coming back to Sabah after a decline immediately following several crime incidents, including kidnappings by armed gunmen, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
The tourists, said Musa, were once again confident in the level of security in the state.
"The number of foreign tourist arrivals is once again on the rise, an indicator that they are confident with the security level in Sabah," he said at the Sabah United Chinese Chambers of Commerce (SUCCC) swearing-in ceremony here on Friday.
The government, added Musa, was doing its best to ensure that peace and sovereignty prevailed and were upheld in the state.
"Steps such as the setting up of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) and curfew are among the efforts put in place to keep the state peaceful in the wake of events that took place two years ago," he said, referring to the Lahad Datu intrusion in 2013 as well as the kidnappings.
He also assured businessmen that the government was taking the necessary steps to prevent such incidents from recurring and urged the people to be united and supportive of such efforts.
Musa said stability, peace and harmony were among positive factors that ensured sound economic growth.
"It is important that we uphold unity in Sabah. For our state to move forward, we must continue to respect one another, irrespective of race and religion," he said.
"We must think as one and find strength in our diversity. Do not allow sentiments on race and religion take over the agenda of bringing growth and progress to Sabah," he said.
Musa also congratulated SUCCC chairman Datuk Seri Gan Sau Wah for uniting Chinese businesses in Sabah.
"This unity has allowed for development and economic growth in the state.
"I hope that both Chinese and bumiputra businesses can continue to work together in developing the state," he said.