Malaysiakini Letter

Local German-speaking guides have the real edge

Loh Siew Wah  |  Published:  |  Modified:

I write in reference to the report with regard to bringing in German-speaking tour guides. As a German-speaking tour guide, this has angered me greatly, but I speak for all guides because there is a principal at stake here.

We tourist guides have a responsibility to tourists where we impart our local knowledge to them. Foreign tour guides cannot do this because they are not born here and do not understand our culture or customs and dialects. This in turn can only lead to disinformation.

Giving people these jobs without the relevant qualifications is absolutely ludicrous and makes a mockery of the guidelines as set out by the Ministry of Tourism which we as tour guides have to abide by which states that you have to be Malaysian to be a guide.

We are the ambassadors of our country - not foreigners. We guides spend years training ourselves and sitting for stringent examinations every year to enable us to get our licence to continue guiding, not to mention the CTRE’s we have to pay for out of our own money.

But these foreigners will just be able to walk into Malaysia and guide almost as soon as their plane touches down.

Although these proposed guides can work for 20 hours per week under the Malaysia My 2 nd Home (MM2H) legislation, wouldn't that time be better spent teaching existing guides the German language rather than giving our jobs to them?

We are already struggling to get assignments ourselves, so giving out assignments to foreigners will have a severe impact on our social and financial status.

We already feel undervalued because we have been fighting for years for fair pay and recognition of our services to our country, but this new episode shows how we are not protected or cared for by Dr Ng Yen Yen.

These proposals have been done without consultation with tour guides which further implies total disregard for us. Ng said German tour guides would also be allowed to operate in Malaysia under certain circumstances.

‘For instance, a group of 40 German businessmen, requesting to bring in their own German- speaking tour guides, would be acceptable.’ This quote is unbelievable because these guides would be translators - not guides.

Travel agents would hire these ‘guides’ because they would work for free under MM2H rules but they would not know anything about Malaysia, therefore Ng Yen Yen is giving out the wrong message.

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