28 October 2010 Questions Time: “Tourist” Minister spent RM3.25 million for her 16 overseas trips!

Update 28-10-2010 @ 23:50: This is what the Auditor General Reports 2009 had stated about the Homestay Programe:

Objektif program Homestay tidak akan DICAPAI sepenuhnya jika kelemahan dalam perancangan, pelaksanaan dan pemantauan program ini tidak diatasi dengan segera, Oleh itu adalah disyorkan supaya Kementerian Pelancogan (Kementerian) dan Agensi pelaksana melaksanakan perkara-perkara berikut:

1. Kementerian perlu memastikan satu garis panduan yang menyeluruh dikeluarkan untuk menjelaskan peranan dna tanggunjawab setiap pihak yang terlibat dalam pengurusan Program Homestay. Selain itu, Kementerian perlu sentiasa memastikan garis panduan yang disediakan berhubung pengeluaran Sijil Pendaftaran dipatuhi sebelum mengeluarkan sijil tersebut kepada peserta Program Homestay

2. Reka bentuk bangunan yang akan dibina perlu diteliti dan dipastikan sesuai oleh pihak yang berkelayakan  dan berkemahiran setiap binaan adalah sesuai untuk digunakan. Agensi pelaksana juga hendaklah menjalankan pematauan yang berterusan bagi memmastikan kontraktor melaksanakan kerja mengikut spesifikasi yang ditetakpan.

“Tourist” Minister, YB Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, has spent RM1.67 million on her overseas trips in 2009 and another RM1.58 million between January until October 2010.  She said that she has made 16 overseas trips (26 countries and 61 cities) since she was appointed in 2009.  She asserted that her “trips” have made Malaysia the most popularly visited countries in 2009. 

I believe that she is the mos traveled Minister in history and the PM should change her port folio to “TOURIST MINISTER” from now on.  If we were to apportion RM3.25 million against 16 trips the total average cost to the country is RM203,125-00!  I have not seen visible results from her 16 trips except seeing pictures of her husband and her was published in the newspapers.

No wonder she has no time to take care of the other important existing programes in her Ministry like Homestay.

According the the Ketua Audit Negara (KAG) Reports 2009, the Homestay Programe (that she was screaming as a big success) was in fact a failures due to total lack of supervision. The said KAG Report was very negative where it has stated among other things that many renovation projects for the Homestay Programe were carried NOT in accordance with specifications. Some places did not attract any tourist at all because of the poor living conditions despite the renovation works have been carried out.  I would summarise it that a total neglect by the Minister as she was more interest in TOURING!!

The “Tourist” Minister should tell us what is the total cost of the Malaysian Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo where she has promised me in Parliament that no variation order will be entertained for the project. The total project cost was approved for RM20 million. I believe that it has escalated to more than RM20 million.  I shall be pressing her for answers during her reply to all the questions posed to her.

Venturepharm Asia Sdn Bhd, which is a pharmaceutical based company with no building construction experience,  was awarded for the project.  The person behind this Venturepharm Asia Sdn Bhd is Ms Grace Au Yong, a Taiwanese who happened to be the “Tourist” Minister good friend.  The “Tourism” Minister’s ex-personal secretary Ms Ivy See is also a director of a company associated with Ms Grace Au Young.

Venturpharm Asia Sdn Bhd was granted with about RM5.6 million TechnoFund for doing research works from the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovations (MOSTI) and there was a balance of about some RM3 million that have not been paid out. As a result of several questions posed by me in Parliament over Venturepharm Asia Sdn Bhd, the Minister of MOSTI has informed Parliament that the fund, which ha not been disbursed, under the TechnoFund for Venturepharm Asia Sdn Bhd has been frozen pending investigations. I have forwarded many documents to MOSTI over this matter for considerations.  I believe that after the investigations, MOSTI has terminated the agreement with Venturepharm Asia Sdn Bhd due to some glaring discrepancies!  I understand that Venturepharm Asia Sdn Bhd has taken out a civil suit against MOSTI. It will be interesting to see how the case will be unfolding in court.

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5 thoughts on “28 October 2010 Questions Time: “Tourist” Minister spent RM3.25 million for her 16 overseas trips!

  1. ETP

    YB,

    This excessive overseas trips that costed taxpayers million of dollar per minister is quite a norm. In fact, you should check also the travelling costs for Dep Minister Tourism, or those in MIDA, MITI, Khazanah. It always more than RM1 million per person. It’s good that you highlighted this in your blog. I do hope Najib will wake up from his honeymoon year and start doing some serious job.

    Aku anak Malaysia

    Reply
  2. Zinhamid

    YB,
    There is a saying sambil menyelam minum air…or sambil minum air menyelam

    I think to be fair we have to do a bit of calculation .. Rather like ROI. If the tourist minister brings in many multiples of the over 3.25 mil.spent… You Then must suggest that the Gomen throw in more perks for the menteri to do more personal shopping. She can be called menteri pelancong dan shopping .There has also to be some measurement of coefficient or correlation between her visits and inpouring of money to this country. But of course discount the no of prostitutes coming in ..( because that’s under kementerian pelacuran i.e. Under the ministry responsible for letting those pretty things in. Can we include the increase in the no. of foreign students and the drug mules..
    I think you have to ask her in parliament about the ROI thing.

    I do hope that you have the energy to keep up the good work
    ..democracy is more interesting with MP’s like u.

    BTW

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Global Voices in English » Malaysia: Questionable overseas trips of tourism minister

  4. mike harlem

    YB,
    Questionable overseas trips or “junkard trips” are not new nor exclusive to this ministry. Some other ministries or departments are exploiting this budget line under the pretext of “exigency of service”. Some may be justified while others are just another junkard trips.
    That is why the ministry is called the ministry of tourism – the minister and officials are the number one tourist themselves. And that is done “in the name” of tourism promotion. It is very ingenious camouflage.
    If these pilferages may be contained, you will be surprised how much public fund would be saved. The PAC should focus on this issue regularly of this and other ministries and agencies.
    Keep up with the good work.

    Reply
  5. vsvsv

    By the way, can the spouses and children of ministers enjoy those special priviledge , treatment and discounts on our tax money….? Can they use Vip lounge in KLIA, flying first class, staying 5 star hotels on our tax paying money?? Do they have a guidelines on these??

    Reply

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