Guan Eng: A new deputy tourism minister, yet still no rescue plan for flagging travel sector

Lim also questioned what happen to the RM622 billion in economic stimulus package and Budget 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Lim also questioned what happen to the RM622 billion in economic stimulus package and Budget 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today accused the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government of buying political support by appointing Senator Guan Dee Koh Hoi as the new deputy minister of tourism, arts and culture.

Lim said in the meantime, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin failed to acknowledge the RM100 billion loss the tourism industry suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with no rescue plan forthcoming.

“PN is more focused on buying political support.

“Can Muhyiddin explain what special qualities this new deputy minister can bring into the government that will save the beleaguered tourism industry, when the current minister of tourism appears impotent to do anything,” he said in a statement.

The Bagan MP said that tourist associations’ appeal for government help has fallen on deaf ears.

“For instance, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) complaints about policy flip-flops on U-turns on the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) and movement control order (MCO) restrictions are not being addressed.

“What we have witnessed instead is shameful double standards, with the ordinary rakyat being punished with severe fines of up to RM10,000 and RM50,000 for companies, whilst ministers are dealt with leniently or escaped unpunished,” he said.

He also pointed out that the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) is facing rising numbers of hotel closures and still waiting for government assistance for 2021.

Lim also questioned what happen to the RM622 billion in economic stimulus package and Budget 2021.

“Muhyiddin can only admit that the government was running short of funds despite spending RM622 billion that has not helped to slow down business closures and save jobs.

“This has raised deep suspicions about the disbursement of such funds amongst the public, that cannot be answered following the unconstitutional suspension of Parliament,” he said.

He said Tourism Ministry must be relieved that it does not need to account for its poor performance from MPs unhappy with the loss of jobs and business from a critical sector.

“Is the PN government unconcerned about the survival of the tourism industry, where the Gross Value Added of Tourism Industries (GVATI) contributes up to 15.9 per cent of our country’s GDP in 2019?

“That is why it is important for Parliament to reopen so that the pain and sufferings of the rakyat, not just from the tourism industry, can be heard and addressed.

“Unfortunately, political survival trumps people’s economic livelihood until everything can reopen except Parliament, all MPs can be vaccinated but they are still not allowed to meet,” he said.

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