'Yes, it was me in viral post' - Tiong
SHAH ALAM - Tourism Ministry, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, has brought attention to the presence of corruption and a chronic abuse of power in Malaysia.
His remarks came in response to an incident reportedly involving a minister at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Terminal 1 yesterday.
Earlier today, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said airport authorities were investigating the incident where a minister allegedly barged into the arrival hall without a pass to help a detained Chinese national.
Confirming his presence in the viral picture, Tiong explained that he was at KLIA at that time in response to tourist complaints.
He stressed that it is customary for a minister to conduct field visits to understand the situation concerning the arrival of foreign tourists in Malaysia.
"This monitoring is part of my role as a minister to actively engage with the field.
"Initially, I intended to address this issue through practical channels, but due to its viral nature and media inquiries, I feel compelled to provide an explanation," he said in a statement today.
Tiong called on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to conduct a large-scale raid at the international arrival gate.
He revealed that a detained tourist was not provided with a reason for the detention, and communication problems between immigration officers and the tourist led to complications.
Tiong had previously raised concerns about communication issues and initiated the provision of translators for tourists from the Middle East, China, and India to facilitate their arrival process in Malaysia.
During his visit to KLIA, Tiong was accompanied by an investigation officer from the integrity unit under the Tourism Ministry.
He further revealed that there was an issue with foreign tourists arriving here and having their cell phones confiscated without explaining why they were detained.
Tiong condemned the mistreatment of detainees, noting that some were denied proper meals, which violates the law.
"Does it follow the procedures and standards in the law? I also learned that some officials change the acts enshrined in their legislation at will while in the field.
"I also received information about immigration officers demanding money from detained foreign tourists for their release, with requests ranging from RM3,000 for release and a return flight ticket to their home country, up to RM12,000 for visa processing and a "special route" for immediate repatriation," he added.
Tiong also called for an investigation by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) into internal officials responsible for spreading defamatory pictures and information about him regarding this issue.
He affirmed his commitment, alongside Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Toursim Ministry, to combat corruption and abuse of power in the country.