PETALING JAYA - The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) has said that none of its members are using illegal tour guides.
MATTA president Hamzah Rahmat said the association's objective is to develop the travel and tourism industry and it would not tolerate the hiring of illegal tour guides by travel agents.
He said such claims would gravely tarnish the country's image, adding that those making such allegations should back up the claim with evidence.
"MATTA has a total of 2,990 members.
"Of all these members, how many have engaged illegal tour guides?
"Is there any statistical data or concrete evidence to make a meaningful claim?
"If not, these claims can only be deemed baseless and untruthful," he said in a statement.
Hamzah said the only way to attract more high-yield tourists is to be competitive by having qualified tour guides.
"We don't need substandard tour guides who cannot meet the expectations and demands of these tourists," he said when refuting claims by the Malaysian Tourist Guides Council that some tour agencies had been trying to cut cost by hiring illegal guides.
On Dec 8, The Star reported that the council had said that unqualified guides might be giving tourists incorrect information and warned that this was damaging the industry.