Malaysia has announced plans to have three-star public toilets, only days after Singapore hailed the success of a drive to keep its lavatories clean and dry. Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Azmi Khalid said the Government had decided to privatise the operation of the nation's toilets so they would be maintained in a consistent state of cleanliness. He said he wanted them to be brought up to the level of toilets in three-star hotels and hoped this could be achieved within two years. Mr Khalid said public toilets should be places where people could rest and mothers could change their babies' nappies. They should have somewhere for users to put handbags. The preoccupation of Singapore and Malaysia with toilet cleanliness follows years of complaints by residents and visitors about the condition of public amenities in the two countries. Past campaigns to improve the situation have had limited success. In Malaysia, the latest moves follow remarks by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad condemning the poor state of Malaysian toilets. Mr Khalid said privatisation of public toilets would not only ensure they were kept clean but would also reduce the Government's financial burden. But the public is likely to be wary of the plan, having experienced high costs and poor service after the privatisation of bus routes, garbage collection, water supply and highways. Recent water cuts over a wide area serviced by a private company have intensified public opposition to privatisation.