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A tour of Malaysia:

An enchantment for holidaymakers

The history of bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the peninsula of Malaysia dates back to about 2500 BC. The Malays of Sri Lanka, by virtue of their identity, can take a proud stand as part and parcel of the 250-million strong Dunia Bansa Melayu (Malay Word).

This was the general consensus expressed by over 80 foreign delegates who attended the symposium Dunia Melay ii, organized by the Sri Lanka-Malay Confederation (SLAMAC) and the Malay Writers' Federation of Malaysia (GAPENA) at Colombo in August 1985.

Mother Nature has neatened her sanction on the different landmasses in an assortment of structures. Japan is famous for its diligent and industrious citizens; Gulf for its colossal wealth and oil resources; USA for its super power privileges, civil liberties and lavish life-style; Germany for its immeasurable technological evolution.

Malaysia is blessed with its committed massive manpower, soaring natural beauty and mottled, cultural heritage. 'Unity in diversity' is the motto of the nation. It stakes the claim of cherishing one of the most ancient and developed civilizations in the world. This peninsula also gave birth to scores of great men of the 20th century, like Dr.Mahathir Mohamad. Malaysia is one of the few modern states which is heired to the rich civilization and a modern legacy, where modern day visionaries emerge from the ruins of a great civilization.

The Federation of Malaysia comprises of Peninsula Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Although the agriculture and industries account for a larger portion of the economy; the tourism industry is developing at a rapid pace under well-planned strategies, giving priority to conserving and protecting its main tourist attractions, mammoth natural resources and pristine marine life.

Fine example of progress

One of the fine examples of development that goes in harmony with nature is the eco-friendly development of river basins in Langkawi Island as a tourist attraction. The wooden and concrete steps through the bat caves were built in such a way that it does not disturb the smooth functioning of diverse eco-systems, while providing tourists with a close observation of the huge bat caves with lime stones and thousands of years old parasites. On the other side of the river is a thriving fish farm, and into the interior, an eagle feeding site which is one of the most favourite stops-over of Arabs.

Here, the mangrove and marine is well-preserved, in spite of thousands of tourists. The tours have been well-organized and small groups were offered guided tours. The visitors are welcomed by well-mannered and disciplined tour guides and drivers.

The system at work is so methodical that there is no room for tourists to be cheated, at any point. This river reminded me of Madu Ganga which is very much similar in vegetation and marine life.

However, haphazard incursions by humans have caused irreparable damage to vegetation and marine life in and around the Madu Ganga. The tour guides and the other staff are professionally trained, so that almost everyone holds a High School Diploma in the relevant field.

Cheapest tourist destinations

Being one of the few cheapest tourist destinations in the world, Malaysia offers the cheapest shopping breaks through hundreds of accurately arrayed mega shopping malls and Boulevards throughout the country.

Trouble-free access by a variety of public transport; most efficient train service, convenient bus and taxi services, and the assistance provided by the professionally trained staff make the tourists contented. Air -conditioned and comfortable public transport system is not the exemption, but the rule.

Impressive Infrastructure which is at its height, depicts that the Government is committed to maintain very high standards from the city to the tiny hamlet. Greenery is omnipresent even in the buzzling metropolitan, Kuala Lumpur, contributing to the well-balanced hinterland.

In the city as well as in the villages, the roads and highways are untainted daily, that it creates fresh air, and a garbage and dust-free environment. It is unbelievable but true, that one does not gather a particle of dust even after walking around Kuala Lumpur from morn till evening.

Malaysia has proved attracting tourists not by advertising on ruins and natural resources, but by providing excellent hospitality, service, amenities and development of natural resources which is well-organised and planned.

Undoubtedly, Malaysia is an embodiment of natural resources, but the real tourist attraction is the access to experience and adventure the natural resources. Malaysia is an ideal holiday destination for anyone who enjoys natural beauty, rich marine life and tracking in rainforests.

Surrounded by the sea, Malaysia offers sandy beaches around the country, squashy climate throughout the year and an excellent opportunity for tracking in the jungles of the eastern part of the country, rafting and exploration, snorkeling and diving, mounting, fishing etc. Kuala Lumpur and Penang are the cheapest shopping destinations in general, and Langkawi Island is the cheapest shopping destination for liquor and chocolates.

Genting highlands have been developed especially for those tourists who enjoy a calm and quiet environment, and also as an amusement centres in luxurious hotels.

"Malaysia my second home" scheme is really attractive and sustainable and provides an opportunity for any individual or family to reside in Malaysia. The cost of living is cheaper while qualitative living standard is assured.

Role model

Malaysia has become a role model of sustainable development, mainly due to its generation of farsighted national leaders who always had a vision and a mission for the future wellbeing of the nation at heart.

The history of the world bear testimony to, beyond doubt, the fact that few are men who are fully understood, accepted and recognized in their own times. The scriptures advocate the principle of " Nishkamakarma ". It is not for anyone to worry about the fruits of their own labour.

Once someone strives for brilliance in their assignments, the rewards would themselves follow suit. The fact is amply manifest if we compare Malaysia with most of the other Asian countries.

It is a pathetic state of affairs that even today the Asian countries lagging behind had not thought of working together in sharing knowledge, technology, human resources, and natural resources, as the then Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto rightly stated in one of her speeches, " Asian countries must work together", in 1999, during her visit to Sri Lanka.

As Lord Khrishna correctly points out to Arjuna in Bhagavath Geetha, selfishness is the root cause of all miseries. Selfishness arises from egoism. Invariably, one should be egoistic enough to meet one's basic needs. But when greed overtakes need, one turns a blind eye towards common interest.

The nation shall prosper only if each citizen pledges to safeguard the interest of the community. The planning of the tourism industry itself in Malaysia, testify to this where sumptuous spenders as well as scholars, and low spending tourists can afford and equally enjoy the luxuries.

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