Bulk of public toilets in Taiping remain unsatisfactory

The Taiping Municipal Council released its 2023 public toilet inspection report in the iconic Perak town, and the results are less than satisfactory.

The inspections, carried out between January and August of this year, saw only 32 of the 361 toilets inspected scoring five stars. A large number of them – 179 – were given a rating of two stars and below.

The rating of public toilets in various townships and municipalities is not new. Introduced in 2012 by the Housing and Local Government Ministry, the toilets – including those in malls, schools, public transportation hubs, petrol stations, eateries, places of worship, public parks, and government buildings – are rated based on their appearance, and amenities, including for the disabled.

Premises owners risk their star rating certificates being revoked if they fail to keep their toilets clean.

Taiping Municipal Council (MPT) president Khairul Amir Mohamad Zubi, during the council’s full board meeting on Oct 3, said keeping public toilets clean was an important aspect in safeguarding Malaysia’s image, especially at tourist destinations and at the country’s main entry points.

Taiping is a well-known tourist spot and is one of Malaysia’s oldest towns.

“To maintain the cleanliness of public toilets, we need the cooperation from all parties, especially premises owners, starting today,” said Khairul Amir.

“A clean toilet not only benefits visitors, but also the destination itself. Public toilet cleanliness is an important aspect in ensuring visitors get a positive experience. This will, in return, attract more people to the tourist destinations or public spaces.”

The star rating certificate for public toilets was introduced in 2012.

Khairul Amir, during the launch of the Jejak Budaya @ Jalan Berek on Sept 23, said ensuring cleanliness, promoting tourism, and spurring the local economy were instrumental in turning Taiping into a sustainable town.

Taiping is also expected to receive an influx of visitors in the months to come as it celebrates its 150th anniversary next year.

There were numerous government and local council-driven campaigns in the past to keep public toilets clean, nationwide.

In 2019, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he was “embarrassed” by the poor state of public toilets in Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir added that most of the time, they were filthy, and he blamed this on the lack of civil responsibility.

Former Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, in 2020, advised the public to refrain from using dirty public toilets, as a precaution against Covid-19.

Dr Noor Hisham also advised those managing public toilets to ensure that they were clean, and were disinfected regularly.

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