Asia

Do not take safety from crime for granted, Malaysia warns tourists

Do not take safety from crime for granted, Malaysia warns tourists
Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Officials say there is a dedicated security unit based in the Malaysian capital to deal with crime. Photo: www.freeimages.com
Published: 9:05 AM, May 19, 2017
Updated: 2:54 PM, May 19, 2017

PETALING JAYA — Tourists have been advised not to take safety from crime for granted when travelling in Malaysia.

A Tourism and Culture Ministry spokesman said tourists should always be aware of their surroundings when visiting the country, just as they would in any other country.

Responding to claims by two PKR assemblymen that a Peruvian national and his accomplice targeted tourists from China, a ministry spokesman said tourist safety and well-being were always a top priority.

“The ministry has worked closely with the police, the Land Public Transport Commission and the Domestic Trade Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry in ensuring security at tourist hotspots.

“Nevertheless, tourists must be careful and alert of their surroundings when visiting any foreign country,” the spokesman said.

He said Bukit Bintang and Kuala Lumpur City Centre were especially well-policed with a dedicated security unit deployed to enhance the safety of tourists.

He also said signage reminding tourists to be mindful of their belongings and of pick-pockets had been placed in various locations.

“There is a special police unit to deal with tourist-related complaints and it has been professional and effective in carrying out their tasks.

“It will be problematic to ensure round-the-clock safety covering of every single sector in the city, much less nationwide, but we are confident the authorities are working on solutions,” he said.

Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang and Semambu assemblyman Lee Chean Chung claimed the police had failed to take action against a Peruvian national accused of theft.

The two presented two videos during a press conference and later posted them on their Facebook pages, showing the suspect along with an accomplice casually picking up unattended bags.

They claimed the suspect had been arrested after being caught red-handed by a tourist operator but was released from police custody earlier this month.

Mr Chang, who is also PKR Youth secretary, urged the authorities to take immediate steps to arrest and prosecute the individuals involved.

“I do not think the police have taken serious action against this person. Even tour guides feel threatened by them,” he said.

“Even though he has committed a crime, he seems free to continue to rob tourists even though guides and tourists have lodged several reports.”

A screengrab of a security camera footage shows the Peruvian suspect obstructing the view of a family at left as an accomplice grabs an unattended bag. MALAY MAIL ONLINE