KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing clarified that his recent remarks concerning non-Muslim tourists visiting Langkawi facing certain restrictions were not to single out Kedah but to highlight the issues affecting the tourism sector nationwide.
According to news portal Free Malaysia Today, his remarks came in response to statements made by Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, regarding regulations on alcohol consumption and clothing attire for tourists in Langkawi.
“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 was quoted as saying at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He explained that he had conveyed the grievances expressed by tourists to the Dewan Rakyat, with the goal of addressing these flaws and enhancing Malaysia’s tourism industry as a whole.
Tiong, who is also the Bintulu MP, emphasised the importance of respect among all parties, regardless of their race, religion, or background as individual rights are protected by the Federal Constitution, and it is not appropriate to force one’s beliefs on others.
“Let us work together in promoting Malaysia’s tourism industry and bring it back to its heyday,” he was quoted as saying by the news portal.
Earlier this week, Tiong was quoted by The Sun, stating that several non-Muslim tourists had approached his ministry with complaints of harassment in Langkawi, particularly regarding their choice of attire and alcohol consumption.
In response, Sanusi refuted Tiong’s claims, asserting that they were baseless, and that the Kedah government would not be launching an investigation into the matter.