PETALING JAYA: A budget hoteliers group says foreign tourists will have greater confidence in visiting Malaysia following the actions of tourism, arts and culture minister Tiong King Sing at KLIA on Thursday.
Malaysia Budget and Business Hotel Association president Ganesh Michiel urged the immigration department to resolve the matters raised by the minister.
He said immigration officers should have a welcoming attitude towards foreign tourists arriving in Malaysia.
Yesterday, Tiong said his visit to KLIA had exposed “a culture of corruption by a few officials and the chronic abuse of power”.
He claimed immigration officers were asking for as much as RM3,000 to release travellers they had detained, with an additional RM3,000 to be paid if the traveller wanted to return to his home country immediately.
Michiel said the tourism industry was one of the main contributors to the nation’s economy, and efforts must be made to preserve the country’s image and prevent it from being damaged.
He called for the authorities to investigate and take action against anyone who was involved in actions that would tarnish the image of the ministry.
Separately, the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said it was concerned about the reported mistreatment of international tourists at KLIA.
“As an organisation dedicated to providing the best hospitality experience our beloved Malaysia has to offer, we firmly believe that every visitor should receive a warm welcome and be given fair treatment from the first to the last mile of their visit.
“We cannot afford cases of mistreatment or miscommunication to undermine our extensive tourism efforts and harm our nation’s image and reputation as the preferred destination for tourism,” it said in a statement.
It urged the relevant government agencies to investigate any alleged mistreatment of international tourists and ensure proper and professional protocols are adhered to.