Malaysia beckons to travelers from all around the world because of its diverse destinations, colorful culture and the delightful hospitality of the locals. But besides these, Malaysia’s reputation as being a safe place for foreigners has improved, also due to the efforts of the Tourist Police.
It is a division of the Royal Malaysian Police Force, primarily entrusted with the task of ensuring the safety of international travelers visiting the country. The tourism sector is regarded as a major income generator for the country – with estimated earnings of up to EUR 16 billion yearly – thus the presence of such a specialized police force has been beneficial in boosting the country’s international image.
Traveler Safety and Security
The Tourist Police unit was formed several years ago with the purpose of refining the tourism sector. It is responsible for lessening the occurrence of crime toward tourists, as well as ensuring that foreign guests have a remarkable experience during their stay in Malaysia.
Tourist Police units have been established in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, as well as the states of Johor, Penang, and Selangor. The Kuala Lumpur unit is composed of almost a hundred personnel working in shifts 24 hours a day. This unit is divided into four patrol teams, namely the Walking Patrol, the Bike Patrol, the Motorcycle Patrol, and the Car Patrol. Personnel are typically posted at mobile stations, and distributed among patrol areas. They are stationed in popular attractions such as monuments or tourist-heavy commercial hubs like Times Square or Bukit Bintang. These Tourist Policemen and women are easily recognizable due to their dark blue uniforms, checkered hat bands, and the “i” badge (symbol for information) on their breast pockets.
The Tourist Police conduct a daily patrol. Their visible presence not only implements increased security, but also effectively attends to tourist’s concerns, as it becomes more convenient for tourists to submit any issues or complaints. According to the head of the Kuala Lumpur Unit, ASP Roslee Omar, the most commonly reported crimes are snatching, pick pocketing, mugging, overpricing by taxi drivers, or thievery in hotel rooms.
As part of standard procedure, Tourist Police personnel receive the complaint brought to their attention, obtain the report, and then forward the report to the concerned division of government able to attain an immediate response to the situation. For instance, cases of overcharging taxi drivers are immediately submitted to the Land Public Transport Commission. The center for receiving reports is at the Malaysia Tourism Center (Ma TiC) at Jalan Ampang.
Friendly, Fast and Right
With their motto, “Friendly, Fast and Right”, Tourist Police personnel also provide visitors with assistance and information, particularly concerning native customs, culture, laws, and local attractions. The unit works closely with travel agencies, airlines, transportation companies, and hotels to extend their immediate assistance to travelers who may need it. To continuously improve the quality of their service, they also make sure to gather feedback via the aforementioned channels. Furthermore, the Tourist Police have lightened the load of Kuala Lumpur City Hall by directly addressing the needs of tourists regarding tourism-related issues.
The strategy of Malaysia's Tourist Police has proven effective in enforcing visitor safety and addressing crimes against tourists; praise for the force has in fact been plentiful. In response to reports filed by the victims, a number of perpetrators have been caught and called to account. The Tourist Police presence also aids in solidifying Malaysia’s reputation as a safe, enjoyable travel destination, as seen in the continuous influx of foreign visitors to the country.