Che’gu Bard lays bare Tourism Minister Tiong King Sing’s “misdeeds” but can they be substantiated?

SLAMMING Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of “fearing non-Malay MPs”, opposition-slant non-NGO Pembela Tanah Air (PETA) claimed that such attitude has led to individuals like Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (maon pic, middle) “becoming big headed”.

Commenting on the “demotion” of Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia) director-general (DG) Datuk Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar, the NGO’s secretariat member Badrul Hisham Shaharin a.k.a. Che’gu Bard said insider’s information pointed to Tiong wanting “to appoint a ‘Chindian’ officer who can follow all the wishes and indecent behaviour “.

“Even from the position grade, this officer does not meet the criteria for the position of DG,” the Perikatan Nasional (PN)-friendly activist justified in an open statement on his Facebook page.

“The Chief secretary to the government and the DG of Public Services (KPPA) must respond to this matter and cannot remain silent. You should be the defenders of public service officers instead of blindly following the directive of politicians who have become increasingly losing respect and oppressing civil servants today.”

Reacting to the matter, Chief secretary to the government Mohd Zuki Ali has stated that the authority to appoint and terminate Ammar’s services rests with Tiong who is the minister for this is outlined in the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board Act 1992 (Act 481).

Tiong’s side of the story

In fact, the Bintulu MP has denied that Ammar was terminated from the post but instead demoted to the post of Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general.

According to Tiong, the decision was made due to Ammar’s declining performance which he described as unsatisfactory despite the latter’s 36-year stint and having been advised several times to improve.

Dispelling his action as “being racist”, Tiong said despite holding a PhD in tourism, Ammar has failed in his assignments to bring in more tourists to Malaysia.

“For example, we target the influx of five million tourists from China, including supporting the local halal industry where China is among the countries with a large Muslim population,” the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president penned on his FB page.

Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (left) and Datuk Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar

“But he said he could only bring in three million tourists. But in the end, he only managed to bring in 1.6 million tourists. In fact, there are also complaints from various parties claiming that it is difficult to deal with Tourism Malaysia DG and its staff in the quest to accelerate economic growth from Malaysia’s tourism industry.”

Deliberating further, Badrul Hisham said Tiong had even requested a special provision with the special position of “Deputy Director 3” within Tourism Malaysia.

“This is said to be the first time that a person outside the civil service has been appointed without any interview which is the (normal) recruitment procedure. It was supported by Anwar as PM whose approval was also needed as the Finance Minister,” claimed the Bersatu information committee member.

“He is said to have willingly appointed Lee Thai Hung on a JUSA (Public Sector Superscale) C grade salary on a three-year contract.”

Badrul Hisham also went on to claim that Malay tourism officials who in some Malaysian high commissions “were suddenly replaced with non-Malays.

“For example, the tourism officers in Beijing and Shanghai were changed on the pretext of spurring the number of Chinese tourists to Malaysia when the increase in Chinese tourists had nothing to do with replacing Malay officials with non-Malay officials but due to Malaysia offering free entry visas to China,” he pointed out.

“Worse still was when it went viral that his nephew was lobbied for the position of Tourism Director in Auckland, New Zealand.” – Feb 26, 2024

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