Getting to the bottom of a dirty Malaysian habit

Readers Charisma and Bayi have brought up a topic that is, er, so to speak at the seat of Malaysian culture. Unspun is of the opinion that owing to the fact that its Visit Malaysia Year this year the subject deserves an airing in a posting of its own, instead of comments in another posting. Wonder if othermalaysians can help us get to the bottom of this subject.

  • Charismah // Jan 17th 2007 at 1:39 pm (edit)

    Thank you, Bayi, for opening up the subject of cleansiness in KL. I’ve been living away from Malaysia for almost 20 years, and the one thing that I cannot understand is – How come the public toilets in the country have not improved? Every time I go back to visit, I am irked and disappointed and ashamed to see the toilets there still so filthy. Even places like KLCC, which is supposed to be an major tourist attraction, has pretty dirty toilets.

    Filthy toilets there, in my opinion, are caused by:
    (1) Lax cleaning efforts/standards of hygiene. Do the building managements not see the need to improve the hygiene standards? Don’t they at least notice the bad smells coming from the toilets?
    (2) Uncivilised toilet-using habits of the locals. Malaysians have one of the most disgusting habits in using toilets. It’s very common to enter a cubicle and find the toilet seat sprayed with urine (if they want to squat on it to pee, at least clean up afterwards), unflushed feces in the toilet bowl when the flush is working (or worse, smears of feces that I imagine are wiped with the hand on walls), or menstrual blood everywhere/used sanitary towels carelessly discarded. To me, it speaks of a total disregard for other users and disrespect for fellow human beings.

    I now live in Thailand, and most toilets here are immaculately clean. Why can’t Malaysians evolve to having more civilised toilet-using habits along with the country’s development?

    What does it say about Malaysians on the whole?

  • bayi // Jan 17th 2007 at 2:23 pm (edit)


    Thank you for highlighting the dirty toilet problem which wasn’t even what I was thinking when I first wrote my comments. I wish I could explain this but even if I could, it wouldn’t help solve the problem. Yes, I am a Malaysian and I have problems understanding why Malaysians behave this way. I believe in punitive measures if persuasion does not bring results but obviously the authorities think otherwise. Somehow it escapes these people’s thinking that keeping the toliets clean benefits everyone.

    It’s Visit Malaysia Year 2007 and the people promoting the country have not seen it fit to eradicate this problem, Instead they have installed some very, very expensive toilets that can clean themselves. I wonder what that means but I do know that these toilets are very expensive and installing them won’t help create better and more hygenic habits.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Jango Ang says:

    Malaysians are dirty, obnoxious, rude, crude, stupid. And the frightening part is Malaysians think they are the most cultured people on earth. I feel very sad.


  2. Jason says:

    The scary thing is that it is mostly grownups who exhibit these poor habits. I am currently working in a UK university and I still see this in the campus toilets. It is rather appalling that students and staff have no self-awareness on public hygiene.

    As for Malaysian public toilets, it is fast becoming a ‘don’t care’ culture. After the first few users utilise the facilities in a non-hygienic manner, the subsequent visitors have no inclination to clean up after others and sometimes follow the same bad habits, thus continuing the unclean cycle. There is also human nature, in which most people are inherently selfish and do not care about the property of others (whilst not realising that public property is paid for by their taxes!).

    I would go for extreme measures such as public humiliation in the form of posters listing offenders. However, one wonders if it will lead to a formation of a public toilet police force and a monthly quote of public toilet offender fines. One can only despair.


  3. bayi says:

    I think we should make the offenders do public service in a bright jacket announcing their “crime”. They should be made to clean the public toilets!

    This will definitely be effective, without doubt!


  4. Fuming says:

    Come on, it’s not just Malaysians who are like this. Everybody is undisciplined, from high officials to the little people, if they can get away with it, at least in public (i’m sure the offenders’ privies at home are quite clean). I’ve seen dirty toilets all over the world, but the worst was one in HK that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned for decades. And it’s funny that women’s loos are often the worst!


  5. joanne says:

    years after years it seems like this dirty toilet matters have not come to any conclusions and the worst part is it becomes from bad to worse.
    it’s not like the government is not doing anything. they do come up with advertisements and campaigns but before it shows any result it is buried and millions and millions of ringgit spend to advertise but it does not reach all malaysians.
    singing advertisements to teach malaysians how to keep our toilets clean is unacceptable for me as it does not portray anything is merely a singing advertisements. that’s about it.
    it’s sad and shameful.
    why we can’t make it a habit to clean our toilets lclean like others??


  6. (i’m sure the offenders’ privies at home are quite clean)
    MC: This assumption is quite baseless, as I have often see extremely filthy toilets in private homes. Other than the occasional floater, the toilets are not bleached, and look like SHIT. (Pun fully intended.) And this is in a HOUSE !!!

    Truly Asia Truly Shitty


  7. Alma says:

    I’ve been living in Malaysia for eight years, and during the time i visited many states and private homes. The socking thing is not only toilet but the overall house hygiene. I was shocked seeing cockroaches crawling everywhere around the house, rats’ sh.. everywhere, kitchen sinks being in such conditions that i could not even allow my toilet to reach, really disgusting! And not only house hygiene, but personal as well, you see people coming out of toilet without washing there hands with soap :|, definitely i would not allow any Malaysian to touch my child after seeing that… On the street you see people digging their nose, yack, and they just feel OK with it, they do not feel ashamed and stuff… Burping loudly after meal, washing only one hand before and after meal and only with plain water, no soap, common people, what’s wrong with you??? I am really saddened with this overall hygiene condition here, as i find Malaysia as a second home country…


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