Malaysia cleans up toilets to lure tourists
December 21, 2006 12:49am CST
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia unveiled high-tech public toilets Tuesday as part of a campaign to wash away bad toilet habits ahead of a major tourism drive next year. Ushering in a "national loo culture," Malaysia's deputy premier inspected a roadside toilet in a Kuala Lumpur shopping belt and urged the crowd outside to be cleaner while spending a penny. "There should be more campaigns to promote awareness on the benefits of clean and healthy toilets," Najib Razak said in a speech prepared for the event, urging Malaysians to learn from the Japanese on clean toilet culture. The country is preparing for 2007 Visit Malaysia Year and hopes to draw 20 million visitors. The state of Malaysia's public toilets has become a hot-button issue, with tourists saying they were often dirty and lacked basic items such as soap and paper. "They can be very messy because people don't seem to know how to use the toilets," Spencer Kaurin, a 46-year-old Norwegian tourist, told Reuters. "You find black spots, footprints on the toilet seats," he said. "And there's water everywhere." The Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur will have 23 such high-tech, self-cleaning toilets, Mayor Hakim Borhan said. The air-conditioned toilets have an automatic seat cleaner that washes, scrubs and dries the bowl after every use, city authorities said. The entire toilet will be cleaned in a similar manner after every five users, it said.