Stop this name-dropping, warns tourism minister

Mohamaddin Ketapi greeting cruisegoers on the ‘Spectrum Of The Seas’ ship at the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal in Penang today.

GEORGE TOWN: The tourism, arts and culture ministry today warned that legal action will be taken against businesses which used the ministry’s name as a form of endorsement for commercial interests.

This came after a news report that a group was organising a travel industry awards ceremony and claiming it was endorsed by the ministry, with its minister scheduled to attend.

The group had said the minister had “verbally” agreed to attend the event.

Today, Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi said he did not receive an invite from any travel group, calling it a “lie”.

He said there was no such thing as a “verbal confirmation”, too.

“If I am attending any event, it will be in writing. Same goes for events that I am not able to attend. Sometimes, if I cannot attend, I will send a ministry official as my representative.”

Mohamaddin spoke to reporters after visiting Royal Caribbean International’s new cruise ship, the Spectrum Of The Seas, at Swettenham Pier here today.

Mohamaddin said it was also illegal for the group to use the Tourism Malaysia icon for its events without permission.

Today, The Star newspaper reported about the rise in vanity awards, where people would pay for dinner tables to “buy” awards for recognition.

In the same report, it quoted a participant of an award show, hosted by Asia Pacific Tourism and Travel Federation (APTTF), saying it was organised poorly.

Those attending the award show had expected Mohamaddin to attend the event but he was nowhere to be seen.

However, APTTF told the daily that arrangements were made with the ministry before the Pakatan Harapan takeover of the government last year, with the ministry expressing support for the event.

APTTF said more recently, it received a phone call from the ministry saying the minister would be unable to attend but “wished them well”.