By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Aug 23: Newly appointed Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting pledged to assist the state in tapping into the huge tourism potential in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
To ensure that Sarawak’s efforts to attract more tourists from the region would be successful, he has assured to work closely with all the stakeholders especially Tourism Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and seeking the necessary experience from former assistant minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin, who is coincidentally his colleague in Sarawak United peoples’ Party (SUPP) and both are from Miri.
“Yes indeed, there is a huge tourism market in the BIMP-EAGA region. On my part, I will assist the state government how best to attract tourists to Miri which is known as a resort city,” Ting told DayakDaily when contacted today.
He added that Sarawak has so much to offer to tourists and efforts must be intensified to increase the tourism receipt.
“My appointment (as Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture) I believe is to help develop the tourism, arts and culture sectors for the state as a whole and Miri in particular. Over here, we have the world renowned Mulu National Park as well as the Niah Caves and many other tourism products,” he stressed.
When asked how he felt for being appointed as an assistant minister instead of a full minister which has been allocated to his fellow comrade and SUPP vice-president Lee Kim Shin, Ting replied: “Oh, it doesn’t matter.”
“Firstly, Datuk Lee has been assistant minister for a long time (since 2004) so he fully deserved it. Secondly, the Cabinet appointment is the prerogative of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. And thirdly, I was only elected to the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) three years ago,” he elaborated.
“In fact, I owe my appointment to both Chief Minister, my party and party president for this appointment. For that, I would record my sincere appreciation to them,” added Ting, who, as SUPP secretary-general is second in the party’s hierarchy after the president.
Ting, 64, is a practicing advocate and solicitor. He graduated with a Bachelor of Law (LLB) Hons (Second Class Upper) from University of North London (formerly known as North London Polytechnic) in the United Kingdom in 1982 and as a Barrister-at-law from Council of Legal Education Lincoln’s Inn London England in 1983.
In 1984, he graduated with a Master of Law (LLM) from the University of Cambridge (Darwin College) England.
In 1989, he was appointed as a councillor in Miri Municipal Council and served till 1999. He has been active both in politics and in many non-governmental organisations in Miri since he came back from his studies.
In May 2004, he was appointed as the political secretary to the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities (May 2004 to April 2009) and in April 2009, he was appointed as political secretary to Minister of Energy Green Technology and Water Malaysia, till 2013.— DayakDaily