Promotion may have come before suspect deal, says tourism minister

Tourism, Art and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi says the official under investigation is a staff in his ministry. (Bernama pic)

SEPANG: It is likely that a senior Tourism Malaysia officer was promoted before he or she was suspected of being involved in a dubious deal, the tourism, arts and culture minister said.

Mohamaddin Ketapi was responding to allegations by a former MP and Tourism Malaysia chairman that the officer was promoted even though he was alleged to be part of a “questionable” deal which implied a conflict of interest

Mohamaddin said he was informed that the said officer was a staff in his ministry.

“I do not wish to comment further as the case is still being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airports Berhad.

However, he said civil servants who were being investigated by the authorities did not deserve to be offered top government posts.

Former Bukit Bintang and Wangsa Maju MP and Tourism Malaysia chairman Wee Choo Keong told FMT the officer currently holds a senior position in Tourism Malaysia and the Tourism and Culture Ministry Staff Cooperative Malaysia Berhad (Koppema).

The officer is also believed to have played an important role in Koppema at the time.

Wee claimed that the officer had on Jan 19 proposed a joint promotion among Tourism Malaysia, Geeko and Tencent Holdings.

Referring to the minutes of a Tourism Malaysia meeting, he said the joint promotion focused on the introduction of a system called “SMART Tourism”, a digital marketing platform, at a price of RM1,167,900.

The minutes of the meeting showed the officer had failed to state that Koppema was a shareholder in Geeko.

The cost of RM1.16 million was paid by Tourism Malaysia to Geeko, Wee claimed.

Present at today’s event were Deputy Transport Minister Kamarudin Jaafar and Tourism Malaysia director-general Musa Yusof, as well as tourism representatives from major airlines, hoteliers and tourism industry associations.

Musa was also tight-lipped when asked to comment. He said he was not aware of the issue and would instruct his officers to study it.

The MoU signed today involves cooperation between Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airports especially in the area of international tourism promotion.

Among the initiatives planned are airlines collaboration, the operation of inaugural and charter flights, as well as high-yield niche tourism promotion.

Both parties will contribute up to RM10 million each for this programme to be disbursed to eligible industry players for the purpose of marketing and promoting Malaysia to an international audience.