Media Statement
By DAP National Publicity Secretary, Ronnie Liu 
in Petaling Jaya 
on 26th September 2002

The KLIA authorities should include Chinese and Tamil languages in the airport signboards 

I had today call on the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) authorities to consider including Chinese and Tamil languages in the airport signboards. 

A DAP delegation comprising Raymond Chong, John Chung, Ong Chee Kheng, Kuan Perk Siong and myself presented a memorandum to Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd. Its Marketing and Public Relations Division Senior Manager, Anis Zuhani Ahmad received the memorandum on behalf of the management. 

She promised to convey our suggestions to the management as well as the holding company, Malaysia Airports Bhd and come back to us with a reply in due time. 

During the meeting, we also raised the issue of the Kelantan airport signboards where the Chinese, Siamese and Tamil words on the signboards were covered with black tape shortly after they were put up. 

We hope that the relevant airport authorities can look into this incident as well as consider seriously the proposal to include Chinese and Tamil in the airport signboards. 

* Copy of memorandum attached



We, the Democratic Action Party (DAP), wish to propose that signboards in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) include the Chinese and Tamil languages, in addition to the three languages currently used, namely English, Malay and Japanese. 

There is a necessity to include Chinese in the airport signboards for the convenience of the large number of Chinese-speaking tourists who visit our country so that they can easily find their way around the airport. 

Although Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik had previously remarked that there was no need to have signboards in Chinese, Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism, Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir had stated that the Government would include the Chinese language in the signboards if the number of Chinese tourists reaches a million. 

However, we feel that there is no need to wait until the number of Chinese tourists reaches a million, as the present numbers are in fact already very high. 

From the Immigration Department statistics, tourist arrival from China for 2000 and 2001 amounted to 425,246 and 453,246 respectively whereas tourist arrival from Taiwan amounted to 213,016 and 249,911 respectively. If we add the two Chinese-speaking tourist groups together, we would have close to three-quarters of a million tourists. And these figures do not include, for instance, tourists from Hong Kong, who numbered 144,611 in 2001. 

Considering the Government’s efforts to woo more Chinese tourists into the country, having signboards in Chinese will certainly be a complimentary move as well as a positive and user-friendly step. Moreover, if the authorities could have signboards in Japanese although the number of Japanese tourists is less than their Chinese counterparts, there is no reason why Chinese should not be included in the signboards. 

Having signboards in Chinese would also be considered as a sign of respect for the 6.4 million-strong Malaysian Chinese community (constituting 26% of the Malaysian population), as many from the business fraternity frequent the airport for their business trips overseas. In fact, a number of Chinese associations have also called for signboards in Chinese in the resolutions passed during their meetings. 

We also call for the inclusion of the Tamil language in the KLIA signboards in recognition of the 1.8 million Malaysian Indians in the country, the third largest community. 

Hence, we urge Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd, which is responsible for the management and operation of KLIA and provision of airport related services, to include both the Chinese and Tamil languages in the KLIA airport signboards in order to ensure an international airport that is truly user-friendly as well as to reflect the spirit of multiracialism and multiculturalism that is a hallmark of Malaysia. 

c.c.       1. Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik
2. Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism, Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir