KUALA LUMPUR – Several islands in Semporana, Sabah, which were visited by preacher and philanthropist Ebit Lew in his charity mission for the Bajau Laut community were closed for public visit.
According to the report from the management of Sabah Parks, the areas include the Tun Sakaran Marine Park in Semporna, which is closed since 13 January following the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Therefore, Ebit Lew’s entourage, who are civilians, will be subjected to the standard operating procedures (SOP) of the MCO and at the same time, the Sabah Parks did not receive any prior application for special permit to enter the Tun Sakaran Marine Park.
“Following the complaint and statement uploaded by Ebit Lew on 2 February 2021 on his social media, the Sabah Parks found that the islands in Semporna mentioned by him are under the Tun Sakaran Marine Park in Semporna.
“As stated in the official social media of Sabah Parks on 12 January 2021, all areas in Sabah Parks will be temporary closed for public access beginning 13 January 2021.
“This is in line with the MCO order and Ustaz Ebit Lew’s entourage are civilians entourage, subjected to the MCO SOP.
“In addition, we did not receive any prior information from them for the special permission to enter the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Semporna,” the Sabah Parks said in a Facebook post.
Yesterday, Ebit Lew uploaded a post in his Facebook account and apologised to the residents in the islands of Semporna, Sabah as he could no longer carry on his charity mission.
He also said that his intention to build a school in the Bajau Laut village whom he had converted to Islam could not be carried on.
According to him, he was prohibited from entering the islands and was asked to stop his charity mission in the villages.
Elaborating further, the Sabah Parks said that any building structures erected within the Tun Sakaran Marine Park are also subjected to the fixed procedures and guidelines.
The matter is related to the interests of the community and the rights of the people in the islands as stated under the Tun Sakaran Marine Park Gazette Letter 2004.
“The Sabah Parks only allow Ustaz Ebit Lew’s entourage to enter the Tun Sakaran Marine Park after getting the information from the National Security Council (MKN) and we fully support his benevolent efforts and caring assistance for the community in all Sabah parks.
“Special permit is required to enter any areas which is currently closed for public visit throughout the MCO,” he said.
The statement also said that Sabah Parks appreciate the stern actions from the officers and Rangers of Tun Sakaran Marine Park who are dedicated in executing their duties to protect the area which is under the recuperation phase from tourists and visitors.
The protection and rehabilitation of the nature in Sabah Parks will be continued, including during the Covid-19 pandemic and MCO nationwide. –MalaysiaGazette