“Lacking in communication skills; MRT counter staff need proper training”

LAST Saturday, I conducted training in a hotel at Jalan Hang Jebat (formerly Davidson Road) in Kuala Lumpur. I went there by train as the hotel, named after an international sports committee for the most glamorous quadrennial games, is near a MRT station.

Just before the exit fare gates, the signage showed Pintu A – Jalan Hang Jebat and Pintu B – Stadium Negara. Previously, I had used Pintu B and walked towards Jalan Sultan to conduct training at an international college in the Chinatown area.

If I were to use Pintu B again this time, I would have to run across busy Jalan Hang Jebat and that could be risky. But if I were to emerge from the underground passage very far from the station, it would mean I would have to backtrack.

For passengers switching trains at MRT Merdeka Station with Plaza Rakyat LRT Station, walkalators are installed to help them cover the long distance. But instead of continuing walking, many just stood still on the walkalators, treating them as “standalators”.

As I did not wish to walk unnecessarily far under the hot sun, I sought confirmation from the staff on duty. Inside the counter were two male officers in their twenties. I asked them whether the exit at Jalan Hang Jebat is just opposite Stadium Negara.

But they did not seem to understand and looked puzzled upon hearing Jalan Hang Jebat and insisted that it should be Jalan Hang Tuah. After a few attempts, I gave up and proceeded to Pintu A. Fortunately, the exit from underground was right next to the hotel.

I am surprised that MRT staff could be so ignorant and disappointed that they were not properly trained. They may have been given plenty of briefings but that does not equate to training, if they were not asked to demonstrate what they have learned, or their performance monitored.

MRT station. (Photo credit: MRT website)


They have plenty of free time seated in their cocooned office which could be used for learning by watching tutorial videos and recording their presentations on video for superiors to evaluate. To provide the public with the right information, they need to improve their communication skills.

My training venue was at the conference room on the ground floor of the hotel that was partitioned on that day with the left side used for some children activity and the right side for a training seminar which was attended by 47 participants from Langkawi to Semporna, Sabah.

The microphone used by the teacher was super loud, but the operable partition was utterly inefficient in sealing off the loud instructions belted out by the excited teacher throughout the day. I have never experienced such disturbance in all my years of conducting training in hotels.

And for the first time, I exposed myself to contracting COVID-19, as I had to remove my masks when speaking. Ten long seminar tables, each with five chairs were arranged in five rows like a classroom. Together with supporting staff, there were more than 50 people inside the room.

I have no idea whether there was adequate ventilation by replacing stale air with fresh outside air or whether everyone was breathing the same air that was kept recirculating in the room without effective filtration. Incidentally, COVID-19 infections have risen by 2,618 on October 22.

But it was a risk I had to take my mask off otherwise I could not be heard clearly by speaking through the masks. Since 2020, I have been conducting training mostly over Zoom and longing to meet participants face-to-face. Over Zoom, they were more like briefing sessions than training.

The last time I was in a physical class was in February this year when conducting the training-of-trainers for the Travel and Tours Enhancement Course, a programme by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and compulsory for those renewing their business licences.

Hopefully, all the training that I get to conduct next year will be hybrid classes. This will allow participants to attend physical classes for more effective face-to-face training or online briefings if they are too far away from the training venue. – Oct 24, 2022


YS Chan is the master trainer for Mesra Malaysia and Travel and Tours Enhancement Course and an Asean Tourism Master Trainer. He is also a tourism and transport business consultant.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main photo credit: MRT website 


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