Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Touring Minister

Meyya, DTM has requested for help: he is trying very hard to revive the Deloitte KassimChan Toastmasters Club. For almost seven months they have not had a meeting and so this evening, a demonstration meeting was held, showcasing 6 Area Champions – 3 of them delivered speeches (Emil Anthony, Hadzrin and Thiaga) and another 3 did evaluations (Lay Kun, Victor Ong and Bernard Louis). It was heartening to note that between six to ten DKC staff attended the meeting and hopefully, this interest would be translated into Toastmaster membership. I am glad I was able to help anyway. This is the 50th club that I have visited this year!

This morning I was already protesting about the increased travel costs of both Najib and Muhyiddin. And to compound my regret, just now, I read in Free Malaysia Today (Webpage
http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/newscommentaries/35357-tourism-ministry-in-spotlight-over-exhorbitant-official-trips-, posted today) that the Tourism Minister also loves travelling very much. It was revealed that Ng Yen Yen and even her predecessor Azalina Othman spent more on official trips. And they cleverly did this by cutting the Tourism Ministry promotional budget between 2008 and 2010.

In a written reply to Batu MP Tian Chua, Ng said that in 2008, the ministry spent RM1.2 million on official trips when it was under Azalina, and in 2009, the cost ballooned to RM1.6 million and when Ng took over the portfolio in April the same year, it further increased to RM1.7 million.

While that is a 40% increase over the three years, the promotional expenditure, however, plunged by a mighty 70% in the same period. According to figures provided by the ministry, the promotional expenditure in 2008 was RM320 million for both local and international promotional activities. This was reduced to RM301 million in 2009 and dwindled massively to RM99.6 million up till July 2010.

Tian Chua said in a statement that Ng went on more official trips than Azalina. "In 2008, Azalina went on official trips six times but Ng has thus far gone abroad 15 times this year”.

Tian Chua was of course mocking Ng when he posed the question. "Is she really doing her job to promote Malaysian tourism or is she promoting international tourism?” And he was being sardonic when he said, “She should be called a 'touring' minister instead of tourism minister". Wah, like that, I also don’t mind becoming a Tourism Minister!
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Arsenal closed in on a place in the Champions League knockout phase with a crushing 5-1 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk to move clear at the top of Group H. Alex Song (19) started the avalanche of goals, followed by Samir Nasri (42), Cesc Fabregas (penalty, 60), Jack Wilshere (66) and Marouane Chamakh (69), while ex-Arsenal striker Eduardo (82) lashed a consolation for the other side. Good job, Gunners!

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