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Malaysia launches self-cleaning toilets

Malaysia on Tuesday launched its first self-cleaning public toilets in a vibrant Kuala Lumpur shopping district.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2006 20:28 IST

Malaysia on Tuesday launched its first self-cleaning public toilets in a vibrant Kuala Lumpur shopping district in a move to dispel complaints its facilities are grim and dirty.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said the new and improved toilets with their multiple facilities would be a welcome sight for visitors as the country prepares for a major tourism campaign in 2007.

Najib, who visited the outdoor loo with officials in tow, said clean toilets were a measure of a country's level of civilisation.

Pedestrians look at a high-tech public toilet after its launch in downtown Kuala Lumpur on December 19, 2006.

               
Photo:Reuters 

"People say toilets represent the level of development of a country," Najib said in his speech at the launch.

"The adequate number of toilets, quality and maintenance of public washrooms are a benchmark of the infrastructural development of a country," he said.

The new toilets are air-conditioned and have an automatic seat cleaner that will wash, scrub and dry the pan after every use.

It also has a baby change station and seats for children to wait as parents answer the call of nature.

The toilets, which cost one ringgit (0.28 dollars) to use, also flush automatically and have facilities for the disabled.

The government is aiming to install some 23 of the toilets around Kuala Lumpur, especially in major shopping districts and tourist sites, by the end of 2007.

"I think this is a very good effort, especially to help the disabled people," said holidaymaker Spencer Kaurin, a retired school teacher from Oslo.

"I usually go to the toilet at the hotel before I leave for town because the toilets, even in shopping complexes, are very dirty," said Kaurin, who has visited Malaysia some 15 times.

"People don't seem to know how to use the toilet ... It seems to be a problem of mentality of people just not caring enough," he said.

Malaysians and tourists alike complain many users do not flush and that they step on toilet seats, leaving dirty shoe prints behind.

Toilets also lack basic hygiene items such as toilet paper and soap.

Malaysia in August hosted a national toilet expo hoping to revolutionise the way its citizens use lavatories.

First Published: Dec 20, 2006 09:00 IST