By Arman Gunsika
KOTA KINABALU - International airports in four states, including Sabah, will provide Mandarin-fluent translator services beginning January 3.
The service, previously only provided at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport will also be made available at the immigration check-in counters at the international arrival halls in Sarawak, Penang and Johor.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho said efforts are currently underway to ascertain the exact number of translators required to be stationed at the international airport in Langkawi. As for the KLIA, the number of translators will be increased by five to a total of 21 this year.
"Eight local Chinese translators have been hired on six-month contracts to work at each of four international airports.
"They will be working on shift to help arriving Chinese to go through the processing of travel documentation beside introducing them to tourist attractions in the respective states," he told newsmen after presenting appointment letters to new translators here.
Tan said the translators will be plain-clothed but wearing jackets and nametags to make it easy for Chinese tourists to identify and approach them.
He said the ministry will look into including them as staff of government services, so as to make it a permanent job. The extension of professional translator services is very important part of the government's efforts to attract the Chinese tourists.
It followed the controversial ear-squat incident at a police state in the peninsula, which came to surface in November last year and affected the total number of Chinese tourist arrivals in the country, dropping by about 48 per cent or about 300,000 tourists.
Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin