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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stinky welcome at Immigration

TOURISM, besides being a service industry par excellence, is also an image-building business that if left unchecked or taken for granted will have major consequences for the country.

Just last week, two busloads of Malaysian travel agents, professional tourist guides and media representatives crossed the Malaysian border at Bukit Kayu Hitam into Thailand as part of a friendship tour of southern Thailand for four days and three nights at the invitation of the tourism authorities of Pattani and Songkhla.

Everything seemed smooth sailing and Immigration clearance was a breeze as we were among the early birds to arrive at the Malaysian border checkpoint in Bukit Kayu Hitam.

But as our entourage walked past the Immigration counter after having our passports stamped, we were greeted by an “offensive smell” that was so bad we choked. The obnoxious smell really made some of us run helter-skelter for some fresh air.

The disgusting smell came from no other than the toilet located after the exit of the Immigration area. We believe this toilet is not meant for public use, as it is close to the Customs and Immigration counters.

If so, the toilet should have been better maintained. A senior and experienced tourist guide among us quipped, “Look at that, they can spend money on a beautification project for a mini garden, but maintaining the toilets seems to be the last priority!”

Seeing and experiencing for ourselves was truly believing.

Unfortunately, there were no VIPs in our group to raise the matter to a higher authority or the relevant department. But such was the situation at the most vital location, our entry/exit point. First impressions to visitors speak louder than anything else!

If this is typical of the Malaysian mentality, I am truly saddened but just can’t ignore the fact that the truth is in the many complaints and reports made by many visitors to the country.

Well, it’s the same old tune that makes headlines but it seems to fall on deaf ears with no solution within reach. We need serious commitment from the relevant authorities in finding a solution to end this big national disgrace.

Are we that ugly Malaysian who takes little interest in matters of cleanliness and healthy surroundings? Where is our sense of pride that we are no longer categorised as a Third World country?

What’s mind-boggling is that we seem to engage many foreign labourers to do most of our dirty chores, including cleaning and maintaining our public toilets, yet why are our toilets still not up to standard? It’s just frustrating and shameful to be labelled a beautiful country of myriad attractions but whose toilets are stinking bad!

Keeping our toilets squeaky clean is akin to having clean undergarments, which simply complements our outer dress. Thus, the true beauty of a country is not only measured by its physical outlook but also in all aspects of its cleanliness inside-out.

However, a word of consolation: on our journey home, we were all proud to see how the PLUS R&R stops along the highways were a far cry from most of our public facilities.

Take a peek at its toilets and you certainly feel at ease. A fine example which others ought to emulate to rid the country of its negative image.

Petaling Jaya.

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Harap dapat tinggalkan nama anda apabila membuat komen yer..Tak kisah la nama betul ke samaran....TQ

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