Lahad Datu: Sabahans bounce back after crisis

Lahad Datu (The Star/ANN) - Sabahans are determined to bounce back after a month of living in uncertainty.

On the ground and in the social media, the feeling is that they should take charge of their lives.

Selina Shim, a 29-year-old government officer here, feels that the situation is now safe and calm.

"Those people who fled should come back to Lahad Datu town. Don't worry, schools and businesses are already open," she said.

Ambuga Abdullah, a 37-year-old government officer in Semporna, said there were some people who were still scared, but they should not worry as "everything will be fine soon ...things are returning to normal".

Twitterers were also doing their bit to restore calm among Sabahans after the Lahad Datu and Semporna attacks that started about two weeks ago.

The #SabahBounceBack hashtag started by Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun on Monday has received positive response from Sabahans.

The hashtag was started with Masidi tweeting: "Dear Sabahans let's tweet or post pictures in FB to show life in Sabah is now back to normal. We want to assure tourists that Sabah is safe!"

He said he wanted to encourage Sabahans to post pictures of the situation in Sabah, showing life returning to normal and tourists enjoying their stay here regardless of which district or town they were in.

"After the bloody incidents in Lahad Datu and Semporna, Sabahans need to tell the world that these are behind us and Sabah is moving forward to regain lost ground in tourist arrivals," he said.

"I am overwhelmed by the huge public response to the tweet campaign including from those who are not Sabahans but love Sabah," he added.

Masidi said that some local celebrities, including Daphne Iking, residing in Kuala Lumpur with huge fan bases took time off to tweet for Sabah.

"Most of all I am humbled by the Sabah Spirit' of unity and sense of patriotism for our country and our state," he said.

thestar.com.my, too, got into the act, posting interesting tweets with the #SabahBounceBack hashtag.

Sabahans enthuasiastically joined the #SabahBounceBack Twitter campaign and tweeted photographs of people having dinner and businesses re-opening in Lahad Datu and Semporna.

Risma Robin from Kota Kinabalu tweeted: "It has been a while. It's time to get back on our feet for the love of our country."

Laurence Peverill of Kota Marudu tweeted a picture of sunshine from the front porch of his house, saying: "Sunshine in Kota Marudu Sabah getting to be her old self again."

Paula Varan tweeted: "time to pick up the pieces and move to a brand new start."

Twitterer Johnny Wong suggested organising a grand "tweetup" in Lahad Datu.

"Go there to enjoy the seafood and nature," he said.

@Suf_PyanZ tweeted: "The Wednesday market in Kunak is filled with people. The situation is safe and it is business as usual."

@Sahidzan posted: Sandakan and Sabah are safe. People don't have to be afraid to come here. The mamak shops are still open."

@ahmadkamal86 tweeted: "At KK right now. 2 days already. Have to say that all rumours heard in KL till the day of my departure r all lies."

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