KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism Ministry has shot down the idea of having taxi drivers as tour guides.
The unexpected decision comes after its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen announced, in February, that commendable taxi drivers with front line qualities will be appointed as tourism "ambassadors" following training.
However, she changed her mind yesterday, stating that the idea had been shot down.
"No. After much consideration, we have decided that they better concentrate on just ferrying tourists to their destinations rather than trying to double up as tour guides.
"Taxi drivers are a vital part of our tourism set up and in order to do so, the cabbies would need to undergo specialised training so that they don't misinform tourists," she said.
She advised taxi drivers to respect holiday makers visiting our country.
"This must be made a priority by the taxi drivers. Remember, when tourists fill up the empty space in your taxi, it immediately becomes theirs. Please turn off your radio when the tourist is talking to you. Don't smoke and be courteous to them," she said.
In February, Dr Ng said the specialised training would begin in mid-March with 100 taxi drivers out of the 4,000 in the Klang Valley to be recruited for the pilot project.
The programme, she said, was an initiative of the ministry to recognise the importance of taxi drivers and raise their awareness and attitude towards rendering high quality service.
Training was first suggested following complaints from the public and tourists against taxi drivers.