Why did The Star not publish my letter?
As long term readers will know, I have had quite a few letters published in Malaysian newspapers. I have raised many issues in their pages, usually on various social issues, of some kind. A few weeks ago, I sent The Star (of Malaysia), the letter below. It was never published. The question is: why? The contents are socially helpful and would, if acted on, change Malaysia, for the better. Yet, someone, at The Star, preferred silence on the issue. The letter follows:
Malaysian taxi drivers lack road knowledge.
In London, licensed taxi drivers have to pass a special exam, called The Knowledge. This involves learning 320 routes through London and the location of every single landmark and place of interest within a six mile radius of Charing Cross. A London Black Cab driver never gets lost, never fails to know the way and gets the customer to their destination every time. Malaysian drivers, however, are a rather different breed. Many of them seem to have no knowledge of Kuala Lumpur at all.
Recently, I have become accustomed to taxi drivers not being able to find their way, to a well known location, in Kuala Lumpur – even if they are parked only a couple of kilometres away. I sometimes have to ask four or five drivers, before I can find one who knows the way, even though the road I am asking them to go to, is a main one. It seems that people are starting to drive cabs, without any detailed knowledge of Kuala Lumpur’s roads. This should simply not be allowed.
Sometimes, drivers pretend to know where somewhere is, just to get the fare. However, part way into the journey, it becomes clear that the driver is lost and has no clue where to go. How can this be called a “taxi service”? If Malaysia is ever to be considered a developed country, it must have a developed transport system – and taxis are part of that.
The solution is simple. Taxi drivers in Malaysia, should have to learn, in detail, every road, every route, every landmark and place of interest, in the bounds of the city or area in which they are licensed, before they are ever allowed to drive a cab. Furthermore, if a cab driver gets lost – or pretends to be lost – they should have no right to charge the customer, for the unaccountably long journey. Were these suggestions to be implemented, Malaysia would finally have a taxi service that meets the customers’ needs. Incidentally, it would also leave a much better impression on foreign visitors, who, at present, can only conclude that there is something incompetent about Malaysia’s taxi services. Is that the impression Malaysia wants to give, to the world?
What do you think of my solution to Malaysia's ignorant taxi drivers? Please comment below, if you wish.
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