Malaysia to have Tamil announcements at international airports

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Kuala Lumpur:  Multi-ethnic Malaysia, which has a sizeable ethnic Indian population, is set to have announcements in Tamil language at its international airports.

Malaysian Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha has recommended that announcements in Tamil be made available at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the Low Cost Carrier Terminal starting next year.

"The Government is aware of the needs of all levels of society in the country, and this is in line with the Malaysian concept that is currently in practice," Kong today said in a statement.

Malaysia's population of 27 million people includes eight per cent ethnic Indians, a majority of whom are Tamils. It is also a favourite tourist and work destination for people from the southern Indian state.

A large number of semi skilled workers in this country are from Tamil Nadu, most of whom do not understand English. Kong added that the recommendation was made after taking into consideration public demands, the needs of the local ethnic Indian community in the country, and the volume of passengers arriving from Indian cities like Chennai.

Of late many groups have been urging the authorities to have announcements in Tamil language at the airports. According to Kong, 434,050 passengers were received by Kuala Lumpur airport and LCCT this year from Chennai, with207,697 departures and 226,353 arrivals.

"The Government realised that almost 90 per cent of the passengers who take the Chennai route understand Tamil rather than English due to differences in accents," Kong said.

"To make sure that these passengers understand the information and announcements made (in the airports), the Government has agreed to the proposal of having announcements in the Tamil language, especially when there are flights to Chennai," he said

Kong said he agreed with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak that finding announcers fluent in Tamil would not be difficult.

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