A former minister has suggested that floods that hit the country annually can be a stepping stone for voluntourism, or volunteer tourism, reported Sinar Daily.
Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who was also former Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, said that Malaysians should learn to turn such natural disasters into opportunities instead of complaining over events that are out of their control.
He added that the floods were an opportunity for volunteer tourism to be promoted and that early planning is necessary for it to be done.
If you know it is coming, then start planning now. Maybe we can have voluntary tourism where people come to the country to help us with the floods, and it is not about them coming here just to enjoy but for them to also learn.
Citing the floods that hit Kuala Krai, Kelantan during the monsoon season yearly as an example, Nazri said that the it was akin to a festival and can be used to attract tourists.
“Because now there is volunteerism, where foreigners come to do volunteer work and they pay (to buy tickets and so on).”
He also said that now was the perfect time to promote tourism while the Ringgit is weak against other currencies, making it cheaper for foreigner to travel to Malaysia.
“The Singaporeans will come because they spent only one-third of their salary and to them, our 5 or 6 stars hotels are just so cheap when they come to our country to travel,” he said.
Is this real life or satire?
Netizens were aghast by Nazri’s flippant remarks over the floods which have devastated livelihoods and even taken several lives and slammed him for making light of the issue.
Nazri’s statement has also drawn criticism from Muar MP Syed Saddiq, who wrote that the country couldn’t afford to suffer huge losses whenever there was a chance to practice volunteer tourism.
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Cover image via The Star and The Diplomat