KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has told the Kedah government to investigate tourists' complaint on being prohibited from buying alcohol or wearing shorts in Langkawi.
Tiong said that every complaint made by tourists should be given serious attention and the matter should be investigated thoroughly, since the industry brings profit to both the state and the country.
“It was unfortunate that the tourists’ report was not given a serious attention and even worst when the claims were denied with arrogant tone,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Earlier this week, Tiong reportedly said 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, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor refuted Tiong’s claims, asserting that they were baseless, and that the Kedah government would not be launching an investigation into the matter.
Tiong said that he raised this matter in the Dewan Rakyat merely to find a solution and consensus from MPs that come from many ethnic backgrounds.
“However, it was unfortunate when such an important matter is used as political capital to the point where it becomes a racial issue,” he said.
Tiong also said that he will cease arguing with the Kedah menteri besar on this matter as it could raise more problems than solution and will only affect the people.
“As a minister, I will do my best to improve the quality of services in the tourism industry, regardless of who is the ruling party in the respective states.
“For me, every state across the country should join hands and put aside political differences for the sake of the people, and in this context, for the growth of the country's tourism economy,” he said.
Tiong also slammed several politicians in the country including PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang whom he said had scrambled in making statements against the way non-Muslims are dressed in states governed by the Islamist party.
“For example, what happened in Kelantan where a trader was fined for dressing indecently in his own business premises. Doesn't this prove the existence of 'Little Napoleon' especially in the enforcement department?
“Doesn't this reflect extremist practices and deny the rights and freedoms of multiracial Malaysians as enshrined in the Federal Constitution? Doesn't this also affect the country's image in the eyes of international tourists, so they no longer make Malaysia their preferred destination?" he asked.