Cleanliness reflects the country’s culture, says Loke on state of public toilets

SEPANG: The state of public toilets is a reflection of governance of any institution, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

"Cleanliness reflects the culture of the country, and the state of our toilets says a lot, and that is why their condition is very important," said Loke at the launch of an incentive campaign by WCT Malls - owner of gateway@klia2 - for students who use KLIA2 from now (Thursday, Jan 12) until April 30.

Recounting a chapter in a recent leadership book authored by Henry Kissinger (former state secretary of the United States), Loke said former Singapore prime minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew, was described as someone who cared about the condition of public toilets, especially those at the Changi airport.

"The book was describing how Lee transformed Changi into what it is today. He had requested a weekly report, not of the airport passenger numbers, but on the state of toilets," said Loke, who noted that the ethos then was "if you can't manage the toilet, then you can't manage the airport".

Loke, who was on an official visit to Singapore three days ago, managed to meet up with Khaw Boon Wan, a former transport minister of the republic, who pretty much told him the same thing.

"He told me the same thing when we talked about transforming the public transport system. When he was tasked with transforming the Singapore MRT system, which suffered major breakdowns in 2011, he sought some clues on the maintenance culture by looking at the toilets in the depot.

"He said when he went to the train maintenance depot, he went to check the toilets as one of the first things on the list. If the toilet is in a mess, then the team is in shambles, and needs to go. If you cannot manage the toilet, then how can you manage and maintain the trains that carry millions a day?" said Loke, as he directed his message to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd on the need to keep airport toilets in tiptop condition as it creates a lasting first impression among foreigners.

“Of course, airports must be lively and vibrant, as it creates the right mood and ambience, and the most important challenge is the recovery of the service sector.”

In relation to this, Loke said the government welcomes all initiatives, including from the private sector, to rejuvenate the retail, tourism and travel sectors.

"It is good to see efforts to create vibrancy and buzz at KLIA2," he said after launching WCT's campaign for students at KLIA2.

The campaign that runs from now until April 30 will see students enjoying discounted rides on KLIA Transit, as well as with AirAsia rides for journeys from KLIA2 to their final destinations.

And by signing up through the WCT Buddy loyalty app, students can get RM10 e-cash vouchers redeemable at selected retail outlets at KLIA2, other than at the Eraman duty-free outlet.

In his speech at the launch event, Datuk Lee Tuck Foo, group managing director for WCT Holdings Bhd, said as the country normalises after a long pandemic, having a campaign to offer some goodies for students is apt.

"Anything that can be done to help students with their expenses will go a long way in making things easier for them," he said.

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