Tourists are not commodities to line our pockets with excessive profits

Malaysia Truly Asia
Malaysia Truly Asia


“Never look at tourists as a chance for making excessive profits, including to cheat by marking up prices, like taxi drivers who do not use the meter,” said our Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, at a dinner hosted by the National Tourism Council of Malaysia (NTCM), HERE.


This statement by the PM is most timely because we keep hearing from our foreign friends or tourists visiting Malaysia that they have been short changed by our local taxi drivers, shopkeepers, eateries and more importantly in-bound tour operators. It is an open secret that tour operators had left tourists unattended to at the airports for hours. This is no good for the image of Malaysia.  


It would appear from this feedback that Malaysians treat tourists as a mere commodity to maximise their profits in every sense of the word and with little or no national pride in either our Malaysian hospitality or our tourism slogan of “Malaysia Truly Asia”.


For a start, the taxi drivers, shopkeepers, in-bound tour operators and other locals at the frontline, must heed the advice of our PM before tourists decide to skip Malaysia altogether as their destination of choice. Such a decision would be detrimental to our economy and national well-being.


We must look at our nearest neighbour Thailand, which uses the tagline “Amazing Thailand” and see how they treat tourists courteously while making them feel at home while abroad. Any attempt to cheat tourists in any form is not tolerated there simply because all Thais know that tourism is one of the major industries, if not the biggest that the country relies on.


We, Malaysians must do the same if we really want to live up to our tagline of “Malaysia Truly Asia”.


We must double our efforts to accord tourists to our country an unforgettably good experience that captures the essence of our “Malaysia Truly Asia” slogan.


In passing, yours truly would like to touch on the background of NTCM, because prior to the dinner held on 27-5-2015, NTCM was virtually unheard of. Please look at the website of NCTM and you will be able to judge it for yourself, HERE.


Due to the growing importance of the tourism industry in the 1970’s, on 10-8-1972 the government set up the Tourist Development Corporation of Malaysia (TDC) under the former Ministry of Trade and Industry. Its purpose was to become the only authority to handle the promotion of tourism domestically and internationally.


On 20-5-1987 the Government set up a new Ministry of Culture, Art and Tourism and TDC was appropriately moved to this new ministry.


Malaysia Tourism Board
Malaysia Tourism Board


On 30-1-1992 the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) was set up under the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Act, 1992 (Act 481), which has assumed all the functions of TDC.  In short, TDC was abolished and all of its functions taken over by MTPB, HERE.


Presently MTPB is the only statutory body under the ministry to stimulate and promote tourism domestically and international.

5 thoughts on “Tourists are not commodities to line our pockets with excessive profits

  1. Tan

    I have received complaints that out taxi drivers were rude and refused to use meter. Our own experience will tell us that the condition of our taxis are very poor. Spad and Ministry of Tourism must do something about it in order to give our country a good image. If these are not improved then we can forget about our tourism promotion. It will be a case of “melepaskan batik di tanga”.

  2. It’s how we look at tourism – if it’s looked upon as one of the “industries” that contribute to our GDP, then tourists are considered as commodities like what you mentioned above.

    I think it’s time to shift our perspectives treating tourists as travelers as the latter cherish experience over the desire to spend, spend, spend.

    If we can actually cater as much as we can to all types of travelers, from budget backpackers to high-money rollers, we can position ourselves as a go to destination in South East Asia.

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