Two crew members of the catamaran that sank on its way to Pulau Mengalum on Saturday have been detained.
Sabah police commissioner Ramli Din, in a Twitter posting, said the two were being detained under Section 304A of the Penal Code for causing death by negligence.
The skipper and crewman were being held for further investigation, he said.
The Star Online reported that the 26-year-old skipper and 38-year-old crewman were the first to be rescued from waters near Pulau Tiga early Sunday.
The duo were then taken to the Kota Kinabalu district police station.
It also reported that 20 of the China nationals survived their 32-hour ordeal at sea, while three died with another six, including a crewman, are still missing.
The news portal also reported that the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) had identified two of the three deceased as He Run Yuan, a 47-year-old woman and Zhang Xioa Kun, a man from China.
The third deceased has yet to be identified.
The news portal also reported that the others rescued on Sunday were the boat’s skipper Sharizal Salian and crewman Aman Abdul, and Chinese tourists Yan Yan Xin, 50, Fan Li Xia, 40, Yan Si Yi, 17, Shen Hao Tien, 17, Chen Xi, 11, Yang Yao Ru, 24, Wang Xian Zhang, 24, Her Hai Min, 22, He Zi Hao, 20, Guo Shun Ke, 48, Tan Ting, 31, Zeng Cui Can, 55, Liu Jin Can, 31, Liu Juan, 32, and Liu Fei Tong, 32.
Others rescued were Cao Dong Tue, Wei Yin, Lu Guo Hang, Li Feng, and Chen Xin Jian, whose ages are unknown.