Malaysia objects to capital’s “third-rudest” status

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21, 2006 (AFP) – Malaysia on Wednesday hotly disputed a global survey that found its capital Kuala Lumpur was the third rudest in the world, saying it was renowned for its friendly people. Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said the widely publicised Reader’s Digest magazine survey of politeness levels in 35 cities could create a negative impression of Malaysia.

“We can question the tests used in the survey because I understand one of our attractions to foreign tourists is the friendliness of our people,” he told the official Bernama news agency.

Reader’s Digest used three tests in the surveyed cities: dropping papers in a busy street to see if anyone would help; checking how often shop assistants said “thank you”, and counting how often someone held a door open.

The rudest cities in general were in Asia, where eight out of nine cities tested finished in the bottom 11.

Mumbai in India came off worst while New York was rated the most courteous.

Tourism is Malaysia’s second-largest foreign exchange earner, but it has struggled to create a service culture to rival neighbours like Thailand and Singapore.