Both government and private higher learning institutions should refer to the Sabah government if they have plans to embark on any research in the state, said Communication and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak.
He said this was to ensure that there would not be any adverse effects to the environment and the local economy.
“If it (the research) can harm the area no matter how good the intention is, it won’t achieve its objectives.
“We should take the approach of getting full support from the locals in whatever we do,” Bernama reported as he saying at the Chinese New Year open house hosted by Kota Belud Chinese Captain Andy Chua in Sabah today.
Salleh, who is also Usukan assemblyman, was commenting on archaeological research to salvage World War II Japanese shipwrecks at two locations in waters off Teluk Usukan near here early this month, which was not referred to the state government.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) which conducted the exploration research on the shipwrecks with a local firm, Ugeens Berjaya Enterprise, claimed that that the varsity’s archaeological team had identified a cargo vessel carrying toxic materials weighing 3,000 tonnes in the waters.
On Wednesday, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun ordered UMS to suspend its research work immediately until both the varsity and the relevant ministry held a meeting.
Salleh also agreed with the state government’s action to avoid any problem or causing harm to the environment.
“We focus and gearing up on tourism in this state because it is an asset to Sabah.
“Among the things that we emphasis is on the environment, and any action that can cause such harm to it should be avoided,” he said.