Friday, May 04, 2007

Only a few black sheep tarnishing us, says Taxi Group

Only a few black sheep are tarnishing the good name of taxi drivers, their association here said, adding that there are many good and honest cabbies around.

“It is not an issue that has not been heard about. Like any other industry, there are sure to be some black sheep in the workforce,” said Federal Territory and Selangor Taxi Operations Association president Datuk Aslah Abdullah.

“If a taxi is untidy, it only shows a particular cabby is irresponsible.

“But, of course, such an attitude is not acceptable and must be changed,” he said, adding that the law requires taxis on the road to be relatively new and any vehicle more than seven years are not to be used.

Aslah was commenting on the grouses voiced by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor about the poor image that Arab tourists have of Malaysia due to, among others, unscrupulous and ill-informed taxi drivers and dirty taxis.

He said the feedback was obtained from Arab travel agents, who also complained about polluted beaches and unfriendly frontliners.

Tengku Adnan said this in Dubai at the end of an 18-day tour of Arab nations to promote Visit Malaysia 2007.

Aslah claimed that he had received reports that on several occasions it was the tourists, especially those from West Asia, who were rude to Malaysian cabbies and other frontliners.

Commenting on the same issue, Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) chairman Markiman Kobiran said: “We’ve heard this over and over again, which is why we need the tourists and also the public to report such matters to us.

“Depending on investigations, we will decide whether to revoke the licences.”

Among the more than 24,000 taxis operating in the Klang Valley, he said, there were more good than bad cabbies.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Ngiam Foon agree with Tengku Adnan that the attitude of local taxi drivers needs to improve.

He added that it was compulsory for cabbies, as frontliners, to have good general knowledge about the country.

“In West Asia, the taxi system is more efficient than ours, which is why tourists from there expect the same, if not higher standards, in our country.

“We must acknowledge that taxis are an important sector to keep these tourists coming back again.”

Regarding the minister’s remarks about polluted beaches, Ngiam said both the government and local authorities must rectify the problem.

He added that the public has also a role to play in keeping the environment clean.

Source : STAR
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