Caretaker Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman said the state government is committed in ensuring that stability was maintained and continued to be preserved in Sabah, not only in the political aspect but also in terms of the economic and social aspects.

Musa said the emphasis given by the state government on the continued stability was to ensure that all the people throughout Sabah benefited from the development programs implemented in the agricultural, tourism, manufacturing and human capital sectors.

"Our objective is to upgrade the living standard of the people and ensure that the momentum of development continued to run smoothly. Alhamdulillah, our development efforts so far have improved the people's prosperity and narrowed down the gap in the standard of living between the rural and urban areas.

"I must say that the (caretaker) Prime Minister is deeply concerned about Sabah because it is the second biggest state in Malaysia. Thus, we certainly need a big allocation because there is much development that we want to implement.

"As I frequently pointed out that our achievement was made possible due to the strong support and cooperation of everyone including my colleagues in the Cabinet, component party leaders, civil servants and the people as a whole," he told Bernama.

According to Musa, the implementation of all development projects as stipulated earlier was progressing as planned under the policy of Direction (Halatuju) and also under the Eighth Malaysia Plan (RMK-8), RMK-9 and RMK-10.

He said one of the strategic economic sectors that he had emphasised upon immediately being appointed as Chief Minister was tourism, as Sabah had been blessed with a treasury of natural resources, especially mountains, islands, beautiful beaches and cultural uniqueness.

"As soon as I became the Chief Minister, I had emphasised or outlined a Direction for the long-term development of Sabah. I emphasised the important sectors: firstly the tourism sector, secondly agriculture and thirdly the development of human capital.

"It is clear today that my plans were accurate. We are now well developed in the field of tourism. In terms of tourist arrivals, the number of people coming from abroad too has increased. (In 2016) a total of 3.4 million local and foreign tourists had come to Sabah.

"This clearly shows the rapid development of this sector in Sabah. Today, everyone knows that we are short of hotel rooms or accommodation. Why? Because too many people come here. So, we need more hotels or homestay facilities so that we can accommodate the large number of tourists," he added.

Musa expected tourist arrivals to Sabah would increase every year and one of the significant impacts was the spin-off effects to the other economic and social sectors.

For example, he said, in 2016, the spin-off of the tourism industry was so significant to the hotel sector, restaurant business, petty traders and agriculture and had contributed RM7.5 billion in income receipts for the state.

"What is important is that the tourism sector provided a lot of job opportunities for our children. Many hotels too were set up including the international hotels. All these required a lot of service workers. So our children, particularly the young ones, school leavers should be sent for training to fill up the vacuum.

"We also asked the hotel owners to give priority to Sabahans to work at their hotels or resorts," he added. — Bernama