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Press Collections 18 December 2014
Halina Mohamad Best Taxi Driver

Audry (left), Yong (second left), SCB managing director Mike Cannon (third right) and permanent secretary of Tourism Ministry Sarawak Datu Ik Pahon (right) who represented Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip giving their thumbs-up to the winners.


KUCHING: Halina Mohamad took home RM3,000 as winner of the Sarawak Tourism Taxi Competition (STTC) 2014.

The 45-year-old mother of four has been driving taxi for almost 20 years, having started the business as a second driver to help her taxi-driver husband.

“We (taxi drivers) must be friendly, polite and honest. Keeping our cars clean and ourselves neat are also important. We must also be patient in answering passengers’ questions and generous in sharing information with them,” she said when met at the award presentation ceremony here on Tuesday.

Halina is based in Kuching International Airport and makes about five to seven trips to the city to ferry tourists. Sometimes she is hired for a whole day by them.

The second prize of RM2,000 went to Voon Kim Shui, while Chai Min Hin won the third prize of RM1,000.

Organising chairperson of STTC 2014 Audry Wan Ullok, who was present at the ceremony, said she was glad that local taxis received positive feedback from tourists.

“Despite Malaysia having dubiously earned a reputation as being one of the top 10 countries in the world with the worst taxi services, I can confidently say that this applies mainly to Kuala Lumpur (KL) and the Klang Valley.

“I had few nasty taxi experiences myself in KL. Taxis there are notorious for refusing to use their taxi meters, are selective of where they want to go and are likely to rudely ask for a flat fee to bring you to your destination,” said Audry.

She added that she had come across many negative comments about taxi services in Trip Advisor, which were mainly confined to KL and Klang Valley.

Meanwhile, the outgoing president of Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) revealed she would be replaced by Philip Yong for the 2014-2016 term.

She said in the past four years, STF tried their best to improve the industry and encouraged stakeholders to maintain high standards of service.

“Tourism is essentially private sector driven. Of course there are many external forces that do affect us, but we nevertheless rally together to support each other and perhaps see how we can make things better for our fellow industry players,” she said.

STTC 2014 was the first in Malaysia held by STF in collaboration with Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB), Ministry of Tourism Sarawak and Tourism Malaysia Sarawak and supported by the four taxi associations in Kuching.

She said the objective was to promote service excellence amongst the taxi operators as Sarawak’s “frontline tourism ambassadors” and as the backbone of its tourism industry.

The competition was launched in Nov and nomination closed on Dec 8. A total of 194 nominations were received. 



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