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Tourism Malaysia rebuts former chairman’s allegations

Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Dr. Siew Ka Wei.

Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Dr. Siew Ka Wei.

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – June 1, 2018: Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia) has refuted allegations by its former chairman Wee Choo Keong that the agency had brokered a shady deal with a China corporation.

In a statement today, Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Siew Ka Wei pointed out that Wee was way off the mark in his blog-based allegations against the Smart Tourism (ST) project.

ST is a digital platform that Tourism Malaysia had set-up with China’s Tencent Group to increase the number of tourist arrivals in Malaysia via hosting tourism videos,.

The project set an initial target of attracting eight million tourists from China.

“This project was initiated after a detailed three-month study by Deloitte Consulting which had done similar studies for Australia and Singapore,” read Siew’s statement.

Under the project, Tourism Malaysia has over the past six month been engaging stakeholders including local corporations with important tourism assets such as the Genting Group, Sunway, Permodalan Nasional Berhad, Khazanah and Malaysia Airlines.

“Without fail, every single stakeholder had voiced their support for the platform and looking forward to their participation in the eco-system which gives them free access to the huge China market.”

Siew also disclosed that copies of lopsided signed documents for the initiative which were posted at Wee’s blog were not the actual contracts with Tencent.

Instead, they were mere copies of a draft proposal and that Tourism Malaysia had come up with a different document that protects the interests of the agency and the country.

“A most telling point that proves the documents shown by him (Wee) were fakes is when he alluded to the point that there was no cancellation clause in the agreement when in fact there is,” says the statement.

Siew also refuted Wee’s claim that Tourism Malaysia had hurriedly paid Tencent the initial RM11.9 million due to the May 9 polls.

“The payment had nothing to do with GE14 but due to a schedule drawn up by Tencent. They had given the deadline of end of April for the money to be paid, otherwise the project would be delayed for at least six months.

“In his postings to run down the organisation which he once led, Wee seems to have omitted many obvious facts. His allegations against the organisation in his earlier postings too reek with bitterness and personal vendetta.

“His claim that the director-general (of Tourism Malaysia) (Datuk Seri Mirza Mohamad Taiyab) was charged for corruption and that no appeal was made by the authorities clearly demonstrated he has got the facts wrong.

“The DG was actually acquitted with a no prima facie decision or no case to answer and the decision was upheld by the High Court following an appeal.

“Tourism contributes 15 per cent of the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Products) and accounts for 23 per cent of total employment. Any effort to jeopardise this huge industry must be condemned.”

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Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at [email protected]