The Langkawi Lie - Malaysia Treats Tourists With Contempt!
Malaysia is at it again. Another day, another cover-up, another threat, another round of bullying and intimidation. While they are not alone in the region, Malaysia takes the moral high ground in many areas and purports to be a fair player in South-East Asian affairs. Well something so simple as a truthful, open and honest finding in the death of Swedish woman Carin Lofgren killed by what her husband described as a classic case of Box Jellyfish envenomation was obviously too difficult.
Read this article in Phuketwan, read the quotes from the poor husband who witnessed the horrific death of his wife, read the comment from the paramedics and shake your head in sheer disbelief seeing a post mortum conducted by Malaysian authorities concluded cause of death as drowning!
This outrageous, offensive and completely disrespectful finding is clearly designed on the premise that ignorance is bliss so as to not draw attention to Langkawi's Box Jellyfish problem and scare away tourists - of which around 2.5 million visit each year.
The Phuketwan article states that the Swedish Embassy in KL confirmed the circumstances of the death prior to the official finding being made public BUT when I enquired of them after the finding they changed their mind and could only confirm that a Swedish citizen had died.
"Free" tourism-focused media on Langkawi and a major resort on the island taking the initiative and looking to warn guests of the potential danger were forced through hateful, threatening means to keep quiet while any comments looking to criticize the finding were not published through fear of recrimination.
So how many have actually been killed by Box Jellyfish on Langkawi? The official figure since the mid-90s is 3 tourists (odd how no locals ever seem to get killed?!) but if the Malaysian authorities go so far as whitewashing this clear-cut case it's a reasonable guess that there are more that have not been accounted for - not to mention stings that have caused near-fatal injury.
I've not been there but I'm told it is text book Box Jellyfish habitat with murky water, sandy bottom beaches and mangroves.
If considering a holiday in Langkawi can I suggest that you abandon the idea and go somewhere like Thailand instead where at least officials have learnt from similar mistakes and are now taking positive, active steps to ensure the safety of their citizens and the visitors who contribute massive amounts of money to the local economy. Don't feed the lie!