Thursday, June 16, 2011

Curi-Curi Wang Malaysia

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Facebook is free. Everybody knows this except Malaysia’s Tourism Ministry. Deputy Tourism Minister James Dawos Mamit innocently admitted on Tuesday that RM1,758,432 was spent on developing six Facebook pages to promote Malaysian tourism. Each Facebook page cost RM293,072 – Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia, Citrawarna 1Malaysia, Karnival Jualan Mega 1Malaysia, Festival Pelancongan Seni Kontemporari 1 Malaysia, Kempen 1Malaysia Bersih and Fabulous Food 1Malaysia.

Mamit added that the RM1.8 million included costs for designing, flash programming and coding, testing and debugging, uploading and launching the application, system server deployment and campaign management. Are there any Malaysians out there who are so bloody stupid that they will believe this?

I am wondering why anyone would require six Facebook pages when the singular target of this campaign is to sell only one product, i.e. Malaysia. It is not difficult to create tabs for the different events. If you are a Facebook user, would you ‘like’ all the six pages and then have your news feed crowded with updates? Very unlikely, right? Ultimately, the question on everyone’s lips is whether it is worth RM1.8 million or not? I definitely don’t believe so!

Anyway his boss, Ng Yen Yen told reporters on Wednesday that “the Facebook pages do not cost a single sen. This is a social media advertising, promotions and branding campaign and also data collection”. It looks like both of them are contradicting each other!. Ng instead maintained that the RM1.8 million would cover the cost of six different campaigns across seven months and includes the cost of contests and advertising on Google and Facebook.

I am now officially confused. Who to believe? Who is dishing out the untruths?

Now that the above has become another ‘hot potato’ for Ng – her critics have created a parody page called "Curi-Curi Wang Malaysia”. This is basically the reverse version of her ministry’s promotional efforts that was created at 6:04 PM on Tuesday and it has already collected 48,676 “likes” (as at 8:35 AM today) – as compared to “Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia” page which has 30,406 “likes” (as at 8:30 AM today), created on May 18 or May 21, 2011 (Malay Mail on June 15, 2011 gives the date as May 18 and DAP gives the May 21 date). Even better, it is absolutely free! Will somebody – any lackey from MCA who reads this! – please give Ng Yen Yen this statistic, so that hopefully she will realize that she has erred. This simple exercise has taught us that if we are clever, we can do clever things that do not cost us an arm and a leg.

DAP's Rasah MP Anthony Loke (Webpage, posted June 15, 2011) also rubbished Ng's argument, saying that DAP has created similar Facebook fan pages and flash applications at no cost.

Did you know that the contract for this project was awarded to Impact Creations? If you had read my blog posting dated February 12, 2011, you will know that this is the company associated with Ng’s good pal and crony, Juni Ewe! Loke has demanded that the said company be suspended immediately and the money given to the company returned. I fully agree!

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