KOTA KINABALU 19/11/2012: A number of shops operated by foreigners allegedly turned away local patrons for no valid reason.
Democratic Action Party (DAP) Kota Kinabalu Youth assistant chief Junz Wong told reporters yesterday that they were informed by members of the public that some of the suovenir shops owned by foreigners had refused to let locals patronise their shops.
He claimed that when they went to two of the shops in Kepayan and Jalan Bundusan to find out if the information they received was credible they were denied entry.
“The shop assistants in both premises immediately refused to let us in upon discovering that we are locals. And when we asked why, they did not give us any valid reason but asked us to leave instead,” claimed Wong.
“We are appalled as to how foreigners are allowed to operate here in Sabah and yet disallow Sabahans to enter their shops,” said Wong.
He said while the shops may or may not have the right to ‘choose’ their customers, their action is nevertheless suspicious.
Wong said their refusal to let local patrons into their shops could be due to their practice of selling ‘Sabah-made’ handicrafts at much higher prices to tourists.
“Maybe they are selling foreign and cheaper handicrafts but claimed the products are locally made,” he said, adding that the shops also allegedly only caters to ‘guided tourists’ brought by tour buses.
He said the relevant ministry should verify the claims and explain why this could happen.
“Whether the relevant ministry is aware of this or not, we want to know how this is allowed to happen as the image of Sabah tourism industry is at stake,” said Wong.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said he had not heard of such claims until yesterday.
He said the ministry’s officers will be sent to investigate the matter and verify whether it is true or not.
“If the complainant can provide specific details of the premises or shops that allegedly disallow locals to patronise them, I will ask my officers to check and verify,” Masidi said via SMS when asked to comment on the matter.
by Amy Dangin