Malaysia in tourism infight with Singapore, Thailand over crime

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Malaysia crimeA storm of indignation broke out in Malaysia after newspaper comments in neighbouring countries started questioning the general safety for residents and tourists in the light of a series of shooting incidents that took place in various parts of Malaysia in the past weeks.

The most provocative and sarcastic article was published a few days ago in Singapore’s New Paper, a title of the  Singapore Press Holding, carrying the headline “Welcome to Malaysia, where it is easy to die and expensive to stay alive.”

The author listed high-profile murders and attacks that recently took place in Malaysia, including an attack on the founder of Ambank, Hussein Ahmad Nazhadi, on the chairman of non-governmental organisation MyWatch, R. Sri Sanjeevan, and on two other Malay businessmen. All crimes were “committed in broad daylight, in busy streets, and involved the use of firearms,” the writer stated.

He further noted that it was possible to hire a killer in Kuala Lumpur “for only $2,000 dollar”.

Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dato’ Sri Anifah Hj. Aman protested against the article and critisised the “sensational headline.” Other officials said that Singapore would “compete for tourists through unacceptable methods.”

New Paper later removed the article from its website and its Facebook page, but said it just wanted to draw the readers’ attention to the threat of armed violence in Malaysia, and that all the events described in the article were widely reported by the Malaysian media.

Another article in Thailand’s The Nation – apparently by an Malaysia author – was of a similar tune. The writer alleged that “it seems like life in Malaysia is getting to be as dangerous as in some South American countries where gun violence has become the norm. This situation is not limited to one or two areas, but extends to the entire country.”

The writing continued with “armed criminals attack in the streets, in restaurants… It is a state of lawlessness. The feeling of insecurity and nervousness is definitely growing.”

The article also disappeared from The Nation‘s website.

However, even Malaysia’s tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri conceded that “the recent shootings in the streets may have negative consequences in the medium term. I am concerned that if this situation continues, it would adversely affect our tourism industry.”

Malaysia counts the highest numbers of tourism visits among ASEAN countries, with 25 million visitors having entered the country in 2012, more than Thailand with 22.3 million. However, observers say that this count was diluted because it includes day visitors, traders and commuters from Singapore to Johor Bahru, the Malaysian border town to Singapore. That said, Kuala Lumpur, the national tourism gateway, received just 9.2 million visitors in 2012, while Bangkok counted 16 million tourists.

Malaysia tourism number growth was flat over the past 3 years and just 1.3 per cent in 2012, while Thailand recorded a 16.2 per cent increase, prompting sector experts to expect that Thailand will bypass Malaysia as the most popular ASEAN country for tourists already by the end of 2013. Singapore is the 3rd most popular tourism destination in ASEAN with more than 10 million visitors in 2012.

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

A storm of indignation broke out in Malaysia after newspaper comments in neighbouring countries started questioning the general safety for residents and tourists in the light of a series of shooting incidents that took place in various parts of Malaysia in the past weeks.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysia crimeA storm of indignation broke out in Malaysia after newspaper comments in neighbouring countries started questioning the general safety for residents and tourists in the light of a series of shooting incidents that took place in various parts of Malaysia in the past weeks.

The most provocative and sarcastic article was published a few days ago in Singapore’s New Paper, a title of the  Singapore Press Holding, carrying the headline “Welcome to Malaysia, where it is easy to die and expensive to stay alive.”

The author listed high-profile murders and attacks that recently took place in Malaysia, including an attack on the founder of Ambank, Hussein Ahmad Nazhadi, on the chairman of non-governmental organisation MyWatch, R. Sri Sanjeevan, and on two other Malay businessmen. All crimes were “committed in broad daylight, in busy streets, and involved the use of firearms,” the writer stated.

He further noted that it was possible to hire a killer in Kuala Lumpur “for only $2,000 dollar”.

Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dato’ Sri Anifah Hj. Aman protested against the article and critisised the “sensational headline.” Other officials said that Singapore would “compete for tourists through unacceptable methods.”

New Paper later removed the article from its website and its Facebook page, but said it just wanted to draw the readers’ attention to the threat of armed violence in Malaysia, and that all the events described in the article were widely reported by the Malaysian media.

Another article in Thailand’s The Nation – apparently by an Malaysia author – was of a similar tune. The writer alleged that “it seems like life in Malaysia is getting to be as dangerous as in some South American countries where gun violence has become the norm. This situation is not limited to one or two areas, but extends to the entire country.”

The writing continued with “armed criminals attack in the streets, in restaurants… It is a state of lawlessness. The feeling of insecurity and nervousness is definitely growing.”

The article also disappeared from The Nation‘s website.

However, even Malaysia’s tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri conceded that “the recent shootings in the streets may have negative consequences in the medium term. I am concerned that if this situation continues, it would adversely affect our tourism industry.”

Malaysia counts the highest numbers of tourism visits among ASEAN countries, with 25 million visitors having entered the country in 2012, more than Thailand with 22.3 million. However, observers say that this count was diluted because it includes day visitors, traders and commuters from Singapore to Johor Bahru, the Malaysian border town to Singapore. That said, Kuala Lumpur, the national tourism gateway, received just 9.2 million visitors in 2012, while Bangkok counted 16 million tourists.

Malaysia tourism number growth was flat over the past 3 years and just 1.3 per cent in 2012, while Thailand recorded a 16.2 per cent increase, prompting sector experts to expect that Thailand will bypass Malaysia as the most popular ASEAN country for tourists already by the end of 2013. Singapore is the 3rd most popular tourism destination in ASEAN with more than 10 million visitors in 2012.

 

 

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