Published on: Friday, March 02, 2012
Kota Kinabalu: The issue of so-called masturbation centres and shady joints offering rawatan batin (RB or urut batin) purportedly for enhancing sexual performance was raised at the Malaysian Association of Wellness & Spa (Mawspa) Sabah Road Show 2012.
The Traditional & Complementary Medicine Practitioners Association of Sabah (TCMAS) said they received many complaints from concerned members of the public.
President of TCMAS, Datin Dorothea Justin Moduying confirmed that the complaints were made via emails and letters.
The joints are reportedly located in Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and Inanam. Some are said to offer so-called Urut Batin which essentially involves young girls massaging the male genitals for half hour at RM50 and more if longer. The session usually ends in masturbation.
"Operators offering massage services claim that RB (or inner healing treatment) is a professional treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED).
As far as TCMAS is concerned, RB or Urut Batin or Masturbation for that matter is a form of abuse.
"Based on the complaints, clients are being charged at RM150, RM180 or RM230 per session, depending on the location," she told Daily Express.
Dorothea said it is believed the workers are both foreigners and locals and that operators are earning up to RM20,000 net per month.
According to her, she has forwarded the matter to the Health Ministry's Traditional & Complementary Medicine (TCM) Division's Sabah Office for the necessary action.
Meanwhile, Mawspa President, Faridah Ahmad Fadzil said Sabah is lucky to be given leeway in bringing in foreign spa therapists to overcome the shortage of trained therapists.
She said this scenario is in contrast to the firm stand of the Federal Government which has stopped these professionals from coming into the Peninsula since four years ago.
"As such, there is no more new recruitment of foreign spa therapists.
There is renewal only for work permits held by existing foreign therapists in the Peninsula until such time when Malaysia has produced enough therapists to meet the current demand in the wellness and spa industry," she said.
According to Faridah, Sabah used to be the biggest "exporter" of spa therapists to meet the demand for them in the Peninsula four years before.
"Eighty percent of spa therapists in hotels and resorts were Sabahans.
But no longer now because parents are not allowing their daughters to work in the spa industry in the Peninsula."
Replying to a local spa operator who was doubtful whether the Government' aim to produce 1,500 local qualified spa therapists in phases by the end of 2,013 could be achieved, she said:
"Although it may sound unrealistic, we have to start somewhere."
Earlier, Stella-In International (Beauty & Spa Training Academy) Education Project Director, Halene Jean Hong said one of the findings of National Key Economic Area (NKEA) Entry Point Project (EPP) 9a Spa Tourism Lab in August 2010 (as presented by the Federal Ministry of Tourism) was that there was a limited supply of skilled and qualified therapists (especially Malaysian therapists) and lack of training facilities to churn out spa therapists.
"Hence, we have the recommendation by the Spa Tourism Lab to implement a long-term solution to address the issue of insufficient supply of local spa therapists.
"Towards this end, existing spa training academies have been appointed as spa centres of excellence (Spa COEs) to serve as spa training institutes for the purpose," said Hong in her presentation on Therapist Training.
Stella-In International is one of the Spa COEs.
The idea of Mawspa was mooted by a group of industry players who saw the need for another spa association to service the industry.
Presently, membership in the other spa association (Association of Malaysian Spas or Amspa) is exclusive to spa owners.
Given that the industry is supported by vendors, product and service suppliers, consultants and educational institutions, among others, Faridah realised the need to create a networking platform that will benefit all members.
"And since education for spa industry players is generally hard to come by, Mawspa's main focus will be on educating the spa industry professionals on the standard operating procedure (SOP) for proper management and operations."