The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is crying foul over unlicensed operators from Thailand who are taking business from local transport operators licensed to provide taxi, van and bus services.
“Malaysia is strategically located in the centre of South-east Asia and share land borders with Thailand, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia,” MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang said, adding that motor vehicles are allowed to cross borders with conditions.
“But many Thai private vehicles and tour buses have been picking up large number of passengers in Malaysia when they are only allowed to bring in tourists from Thailand. If Malaysian private vehicles or tour buses were to pick up local passengers in Thailand, we will urge the Thai authorities to throw the book at them,” he said.
In light of that, Tan urged the Road Transport Department (RTD) to take action so that local transport operators will not lose out to unlicensed operators.
In an effort to resolve the many regulatory problems faced by tourism transport operators nationwide, MATTA State Chapter members from Penang and Kedah held dialogues with related government agencies and officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
Tan hoped that special operations will be conducted regularly at all entry points, including those at Johor, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak, and that routine enforcements be stepped up as special operations can be few and far in between, allowing unlicensed foreign operators free rein.
He stressed: “Strict enforcement will promote legitimate cross-border transportation, as this will facilitate licensed local and foreign transport operators to develop a healthy tourism industry.”