PETALING JAYA: Tourism, arts and culture minister Tiong King Sing says he merely raised the issue of non-Muslim tourists being prohibited from buying alcohol or wearing shorts in Langkawi out of concern for the nation’s tourism sector.
In a statement issued in response to Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Nor, Tiong maintained that he had no intention to nitpick on Kedah in particular.
Tiong said he was merely informing the Dewan Rakyat about the grievances tourists had conveyed to him, so that any flaws in Malaysia’s tourism industry can be resolved.
“What I raised was purely to improve and rectify weaknesses in the nation’s tourism industry. I was not just focusing on certain states like Kedah.
“We can’t deny the shortcomings that exist (in the sector), which include leakages and abuse of power by certain parties for self-interest,” he said.
Tiong also sounded a warning against attempts to portray Malaysia as a nation ruled by religious or racial extremists.
“All parties, regardless of their race, religion and background, should respect one another. We should not force others to follow our beliefs as individual rights are protected by the Federal Constitution. Let us work together in promoting Malaysia’s tourism industry and bring it back to its heyday,” he added.
On Sept 22, Tiong was quoted by The Sun as saying several non-Muslim tourists had complained to his ministry about being harassed by certain officials in Langkawi over their attire and alcohol consumption.
Sanusi denied Tiong’s claims, reportedly saying they were unfounded and that the Kedah government would not investigate the matter.