VETERAN journalist and blogger Datuk A. Kadir Jasin wants a sincere answer from Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing on which is more important: taking care of the feelings of potential tourists from China or protecting common Malaysians from being victims of the COVID-19 pandemic again?
This comes about as the six-term Bintulu MP has recently reminded social media activists not to make statements that could offend tourists from China.
“Many tourist destination countries have already imposed additional conditions on tourists from China. So, what’s wrong with imposing stricter conditions?” penned the former Bersatu supreme council member in his latest Facebook post.
“Hope the Pakatan Harapan-led coalition government is concerned about the safety and interests of the common people. Don’t just look for tourist dollars or wanting to protect the hearts of tourists.”
For context, Kadir raised his concerns following two news reports that have to do with the expected influx of tourists from China. First was that of Tiong urging netizens not to hurt the feelings of potential tourists from China.
The second was that of two virologists Dr Muhammad Amir Yunus from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Dr Vinod Balasubramaniam from Monash University who both opined that pre-flight tests on tourists are a reasonable measure.
“Tiong is a big businessman. Before becoming a minister, he was the Special Ambassador to China. So, it is not wrong if he sees money,” justified Kadir. “The government also needs money. Even the common people want money. But don’t get sick because of money.”
After all, Kadir said many Malaysians are already exposed to enough infectious diseases brought in by foreigners who visit, work and study in our country.
“Diseases that we have managed to eliminate are starting to spread again brought by immigrants,” he lamented. “After that there is another more complicated disease which is a disease that comes in but does not come out … people who suffer from constipation will be able to understand.”
The point Kadir wanted to drive at is that during the period from 2018 to 2021, more than 1.2 million of the 7.17 million Chinese citizens who entered Malaysia did not leave the country.
“That’s a lot! It was not me who made up the story but the Home Affairs Ministry which informed the Parliament. When they entered in big numbers but never leave, our country is only going to be bloated.”
In a related development, Tiong has resigned as Timberwell Bhd’s managing director (MD) and executive director with immediate effect yesterday (Jan 3), citing “other personal commitment”.
The 61-year-old was made MD of the forest management and timber logging company upon his appointment to the board in March 2017. Tiong owned a 23.8% stake in Timberwell as of March 31 last year, according to the group’s latest annual report. – Jan 4, 2023
Main pic credit: MalaysiaGazette