Several tourism related bodies delved into the experience of a tourist at the incident at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport recently.

The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) expressed its concern about the reported incident involving an international tourist experience at the airport recently. 

“As an organization 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.

“The tourism industry plays a vital role in contributing to Malaysia’s economy, creating many employment opportunities and attracting businesses into the country. Unfortunate incidents that mar the experience of tourists, particularly at our country’s entry points, are unacceptable and warrant strong condemnation. 

“Prompt actions must be taken as we approach Visit Malaysia Year 2025, where
tourist arrivals are expected to increase significantly. 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.

“We hope that the relevant government agencies will thoroughly investigate the incident and use it as a learning opportunity for improvement. It is crucial to ensure that proper protocols are in place and that frontline tourism personnel adhere to the highest standards of professionalism. By addressing and
rectifying any shortcomings, we can enhance the overall travel experience for all visitors to our country,” read the press statement.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is calling for a thorough independent and transparent investigation into the recent incident involving the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC), Dato Sri Tiong King Sing at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

“There is nothing new about reports of corruption and victimisation of tourists by Malaysian immigration officers. These incidents involve tourists from many nationalities, not just the Chinese. MATTA has, on several occasions, raised concerns about this as it impedes tourism stakeholders’ marketing efforts, said MATTA President, Datuk Tan Kok Liang.

“The crux of the issue is whether there was any corruption, abuse of power or mistreatment of tourists, not whether Tiong broke protocol – that is secondary,” he added.

According to Transparency International, Malaysia’s 2022 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) score deteriorated to 47 points from 53 points in 2019 (0 is perceived to be highly corrupted and 100 is perceived to be very clean).

“It is imperative that the government does all it can to uplift the image of Malaysia as a safe and attractive tourism destination by eliminating corruption at all levels more so at KLIA which is the main gateway”. Moving forward it is time for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to reassess the situation in light of current development at key entry points in Malaysia .  A review of the current procedures on the handling of travellers with NTL ( not to land) status is also crucial to prevent abuses as Malaysia gears up to receive more international tourists .

“It is reassuring to know that the Minister is taking his job seriously and we applaud him and the ministry for the initiative. We hope that the various ministries will work closely with MOTAC to strengthen Malaysia’s position as a key tourism destination in Southeast Asia and we anticipate more positive changes to the industry in the coming months,” he added.