KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — The Malaysia Budget & Business Hotel Association (MyBHA) said today Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing’s assistance of a foreign visitor at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) recently will boost tourists’ confidence in visiting the country.

MyBHA national president Ganesh Michiel said Tiong was acting within his jurisdiction in the incident, and urged the relevant agencies to take immediate action against the minister’s allegation of corruption against immigration officials at the airport.

“As a minister of tourism, arts and culture of Malaysia, he has been responsible to ensure that the country's tourism industry recovers and his actions are a positive action that will give a positive image and raise the confidence level of foreign tourists to visit Malaysia,” he said in a statement here.

Tiong issued a statement yesterday explaining that he was in the KLIA arrival hall on a work visit and had a valid pass at that time.


In his statement, the Bintulu MP also claimed to have been told that there were Immigration officers who allegedly asked for money in order to release detained foreign tourists, claiming that there were some who allegedly asked for up to RM3,000 to be released from detention including for the flight ticket to return to the country of origin.

He claimed that an additional RM3,000 was sought if the tourist wanted to return to the country of origin immediately using a “special lane”, and RM12,000 was allegedly sought as the cost for visa processing.

Tiong later said he was grateful that his presence at the airport has now exposed the alleged existence of corruption among certain officers and alleged chronic abuse of powers at Malaysia’s entry points.


Voicing his support for Tiong, Michiel said the Immigration Department should always have a welcoming attitude towards foreign tourists arriving in Malaysia.

He said the tourism industry is one of the main contributors to the nation’s economy, and efforts must be made to preserve the country’s image and prevent it from being damaged.

“We call on the relevant parties to immediately investigate and take appropriate action against any individual with bad intentions who are involved in actions that would tarnish the image of the ministry,” he said.