KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - The Tourism Ministry is urging taxi drivers to shape up and provide better services.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said taxi drivers were the front liners who met tourists daily and the quality of their service affected the country's image.
"They are dealing with 24.7 million international tourists and we are going to reach 36 million soon," she said during a press conference after launching the new Crabtree and Evelyn concept store at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur Thursday.
She said the ministry has received 42 complaints from tourists on taxis in 2010 and 61 in 2011, which represented 25% of the overall complaints the ministry received.
She added it also received 20 complaints from tourists on taxis from January to August this year.
"The complaints were filed by tourists from places like Japan, the Middle East and Africa. The complaints were mostly on taxi drivers not using metres, overcharging, harassment and being rude.
"The ministry is concerned that Kuala Lumpur earned the top spot on LondonCabs.co.uk's list of cities with the worst taxi drivers in the world," she said.
She was commenting on the 100 taxi drivers who had gathered in Jalan Bukit Bintang from 3pm to 7pm on Tuesday to voice their grievances, which included the introduction of the free GO-KL buses that they said affected their business.
LondonCabs.co.uk ranked Kuala Lumpur taxi drivers as the worst in the world. Another, Ratestogo.com, put KL as number three after Phnom Penh and Jakarta.
"We hope the taxi industry will change to become the best taxi drivers in the world and that we receive zero complaints about them," Dr Ng said.