'Mobilegraphers' at Petronas Twin Towers are Malaysians, making legitimate income
SHAH ALAM - The Petronas Twin Towers are undoubtedly a popular must visit spot for both local and international tourists.
It is a custom for everyone who visits the twin towers to have at least one picture taken with the majestic twin towers in the background.
The famous towers located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur have attracted a huge number of roadside vendors, scrabbling on the twin tower's popularity, such as balloon, food and drinks, souvenir and merchandise sellers. Most of whom are operating illegally.
As such, mobilegraphers have been gaining popularity in recent times as these vendors provide photography services by taking photos of locals or foreigners against the backdrop of Petronas Twin Towers.
A Twitter user, @hazwanhfiz, who raised the issue of the mushrooming videographers at the towers likened the current scene in Jakarta and Bandung where these photographers are asking and persuading everyone who visits the towers to take pictures.
It was also raised in social media that those who are in this business there are not Malaysians.
Apart from that, the mobilegraphers were also speculated to charge inconsistently for their services.
Speaking to locals and tourists visiting the Petronas Twin Towers, Sinar Daily gathered mixed reactions on the presence of mobilegraphers around the vicinity.
"I don't see anything wrong with these people who are trying to make a legit income," Steven Raj Muthu Raman, 28, who works as a freelance photographer, said when asked about his opinion about the mobilegraphers.
"They (mobilegraphers) are taking advantage of our tourism as it is a part of Malaysia's economy.
"The mobilegraphers are also ensuring that they can earn from things they like, which is photography, even though it's mobile; they are starting small, and that's the right thing to do instead of trying to make a living from illegal activities," Steven said.
When asked about the price they charged for their services, Steven said it was quite reasonable as it depended on the photographer's experience and skills.
"The charge should be consistent. Currently, I believe they charge based on experience; the more experience they have, the more they can charge.
"Some professionals charge between RM5,000 and RM6,000 depending on their services, however, these guys (mobilegraphers) only charge a small fee of RM5 to RM10 for decent-looking pictures," he said.
Meanwhile, Muhamad Alif Rosly, 32, who works as an executive, also found these photography services good as they promote the tourism sector in a positive way.
"It is good for the mobilegraphers to do such work rather than committing themselves to illegal work.
"From this, we can attract more people to come here, the Twin Towers are a part of the country, somehow they (mobilegraphers) are promoting tourism," he said.
Further, Muhammad Akmal, 25, who hails from Melaka praised the mobilegraphers work and urged the government to provide some allowance for their skills.
"They are doing a job, we can also call them a street photographer who helps people capture their memorable moments in here.
"The price range is okay for me; as I said, it's like a job for them, they too have commitments.
"They work hard by standing all day under the scorching sun and rainy weather," he said.
Speaking to a tourist from Lebanon who only wants to be known as Dominic, said he was satisfied with the pictures he received, which came with three photos at a discounted price.
"They are good at their jobs, they took good pictures of us.
"The price range is not bad, they were reasonable. We requested that they take a picture of us, and we are happy with the outcome," he said.
However, Maximilian Stockner from Austria finds the number of mobilegraphers at Twin Tower to be too many.
"We have the same problem in Europe, Rome and Italy where there are too many photographers.
"The sales are a little bit too aggressive." They don't go away when we say no, there are 20 or more mobilegraphers, which are too much.
"Today everyone has a good smartphone, you can snap 10 pictures and choose the best one for you. If you like their (mobilegrapher) services, you can pay for it," he said.
Mobilegraphers say they are Malaysians, making a legit income
Twenty-five-year-old Iskandar from Sabah was dissatisfied with the misinformation of mobilegraphers, especially on social media.
He stressed that 'forcing someone' was never their way to offer the photography service.
"We as mobilegraphers never forced our customers, we took their pictures and made sure they were happy with the outcome.
"Tourists come to take good pictures here and we have successfully rendered our services. We have been attracting a lot of customers," he said.
Asked about the fee charged for their service, Iskandar said the price depends on the service and quality of the gadjets used.
"At night, usually, the prices are different since we have to take good pictures while managing the huge crowd, and at the same time, we have to also provide good lighting. Our charges include all these services.
"Not everyone can afford an iPhone; we have bought expensive phones for our business so we can provide good-quality pictures to our customers," he said.
He also ridiculed allegations that the mobilegraphers were largely foreigners, showing his Malaysian identification card (IC).
Meanwhile, another mobilegrapher who only wanted to be known as Zul said they always offered reasonable prices with great offers.
"We charge different prices according to the weather, but if the customer needs many photos, we offer the best price in the town.
"We use a variety of phones, including Huawei, the iPhone 12, the iPhone 13, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max.Different prices for different qualities.
"If customers don't like taking pictures, we don't force them, we try to offer them a cheap price. If they still refuse, we don't disturb them," he said.