Port Dickson water activities suspended for 3 months

SEREMBAN, Malaysia - All water-related recreational activities along the beach in Port Dickson have been suspended for three months, said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

The suspension order was issued following a fatal incident involving a 23-year-old man, who died from injuries sustained after being hit by a banana boat early this month.

Muhamad Hidayat Ramlan died a week after the accident, which occurred at the popular Pantai Teluk Kemang on Sept 7.

"We have no choice but to suspend these recreational activities as the operators, most of whom are unlicensed, have been blatantly flouting the laws," Mohamad told reporters after chairing the state exco meeting at Wisma Negri.

He said a multi-agency committee chaired by state secretary Datuk Mat Ali Hassan had been formed to come up with rules on who should monitor these activities.

"I have been told that the Marine Department is responsible for issuing licences to operators but it stops there.

"We do not know for sure what the role of the Port Dickson Municipal Council, the Tourism Department or police is in carrying out enforcement," he said.

Mohamad said the committee would come up with guidelines on matters such as where these operators would be allowed to operate, special routes for these vessels, operating hours and passenger pick-up and drop-off points.

Guidelines would also include operators' age and competency in handling the boat or water scooter.

Mohamad said the committee would also look into safety aspects of swimming pools located at hotels, resorts and other private holiday premises in Port Dickson.

"We want to ensure the owners of these premises have lifeguards on duty, especially during peak hours," he added.