Thursday, March 29, 2007

Malaysians taking notice of Public Loos

Dirty toilets may rank first among the top 10 complaints from tourists to Malaysia but Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew sees the bad publicity as a good sign.

At least Malaysians had started to notice the state of the public toilets in the country, said Lau, who also heads the ministry’s national clean toilet campaign.

“In the past, Malaysians did not even bother to talk or complain about dirty toilets,'' said Lau in response to a report on the ranking.

The report quoted Malaysian Tourist Guides Council president Jimmy Leong Wie Kong describing the toilets as wet, dirty and smelly.

Saying that he would not expect immediate drastic changes to the generally dirty public toilets, Lau pointed out that there was definitely improvement following the campaign.

Last month, three restaurant associations – Malaysia Singapore
Coffeeshop Proprietors Association, Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners General Association and Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association – pledged to provide cleaner and better-serviced toilets for customers.

The three associations, with a total of 20,000 members, urged members to conduct basic repairs to their toilets as soon as possible, ensure toilets were in working order, clean and equipped with tissue paper and soap at all times, without imposing any charge for usage.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting witnessed the signing of a memorandum of cooperation among the three parties.

Lau also cautioned the owners of business premises that radical steps were being considered to ensure clean and functional toilets.

Some local authorities had included clean toilets as one of the criteria for the renewal of licence for business premises and this might be extended to all the local authorities nationwide, he added.

On how to tackle the issue of wet and dirty toilets, Lau said Malaysians needed to be educated on the proper usage of toilets, including the courtesy to leave a dry and clean toilet for the next user.

Source : STAR
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