Fake wines in Langkawi? Indecent exposure in Semporna? Motac seeks to tighten law to protect tourists

Dato Sri Tiong King Sing

KUCHING, May 22: Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) will review outdated provisions of the Tourism Industry Act 1992, particularly regulatory issues related to diving instructor licences, divers’ rights and diving activity guidelines, among others.

In stating this, its minister Dato Sri Tiong King Sing said the Act must be reviewed to better protect the rights and interests of tourists visiting Malaysia and to ensure that tourism operators abide by these laws.

He said as the tourism industry begins to welcome more tourists recently, a multitude of problems and disputes have also begun to crop up, citing incidents involving fake wines in Langkawi and indecent exposure by a diving instructor in Semporna.


On the indecent exposure, Tiong said to his knowledge, the tourist has yet to make a police report resulting in no intervention from law enforcement, which he believed may lead to more complications in collecting evidence.

“If these issues are not corrected or rectified in time, it may do more harm to the industry and our country’s image.

“The problem of counterfeit alcohol is not exclusive to tourist areas. Rather, many people have previously complained about the proliferation of fake wines in the market.

“Therefore, this issue must also be monitored by the Ministry of Health with periodical spot checks. Samples must also be brought back to test the authenticity of alcohol being sold,” said Tiong in a statement.

He encouraged tourists to follow the proper channels to report any wrongdoings committed against them to the police immediately for appropriate action to be taken.

“At the same time, local governments and their enforcement units must learn lessons from the above incidents and strengthen their regulatory measures to protect the rights and interests of everyone,” said Tiong.

He said these issues needed to be nipped in the bud and the reason to review the Tourism Act 1992 is to shore up the reputation of the Malaysian tourism industry and boost the confidence of foreign tourists inm Malaysia.

“Therefore, I solemnly appeal to the hotel industry, catering industry, tour guides and travel agencies for their patience and cooperation with us to improve their professional quality and standards together.

“In any case, rest assured that we treat every complaint and feedback with importance, as the perception and experience of international visitors are paramount to us and related industries,” said Tiong. — DayakDaily