Sunday, April 15, 2007

Negative reports or not, Singaporeans still heading to Malaysia

Singaporeans continue to flock to Malaysia to dine, shop and tour despite the grim picture of crimes here painted by the island republic’s media.
Tour buses continue to choke the Causeway during school and public holidays as Singaporeans brave traffic congestion to enter the country for package tours ranging from two to three days.

Statistics culled by the Malaysia Tourist Guides Council (MTGC) reveal up to 120 tour buses with 40 passengers each enter Johor via the Causeway and Second Link during the holidays.

Even during low season, there are at least 12 tour buses during the weekends.

MTGC president Jimmy Leong said the exodus of Singaporeans from the island during holidays showed they were not deterred by negative media reports about the country.
"It is common for them to ask us about certain criminal cases during tea break.

"However, all tourist guides have been trained to do damage control and explain to them that crimes occur everywhere and that the Malaysian police have stepped up patrols in tourist areas.

"They accept our explanation that Malaysia is still among the safest countries in Southeast Asia to travel."

Leong said those who joined package tours were safe as they were under the care of their tourist guides.

And those who did not take tour packages usually travelled in groups.

Singaporean clerk Cindy Lim, 25, said she came to Johor every fortnight to watch movies, eat seafood and shop at hypermarkets.

"I always come with my friends. It is relatively safe in Johor Baru as we only visit crowded places. Moreover, we save a lot by spending our money here."

Margaret Tan said she crossed the Causeway on public buses two times a week to shop for groceries.

She said that crime was never a worry in Johor Baru, which has more police than in city outskirts.

"If I am to worry about this and that, I might as well lock myself at home and starve to death."

A retired civil servant, who only wanted to be identified as Steven, said he always took extra precautions whenever he travelled to Johor.

Source : NST
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