Tourism Malaysia DG not sacked, but demoted — Tiong

TOURISM, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (picture) today denied that Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia) director-general  Datuk Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar was sacked from the post.

Instead, he said, Ammar was demoted to the post of Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general.

Tiong said the decision was made due to Ammar’s declining performance, which was described as unsatisfactory, despite being advised several times to improve.

“I gave him a chance because he has a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) in Tourism, but it doesn’t show in his work.

“Tourists come here, but there are no new destinations (because) he doesn’t do engagements with other states and countries,” he said.

Tiong said this in response to reports by the local media and social media on Ammar’s dismissal as Malaysian Tourism Director-General as was allegedly stated in a letter dated Feb 22,

According to the letter, the termination of Ammar’s service, effective next Monday (Feb 26), was under Subsection 10 (1) of the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board Act 1992 (Act 481), read together with Section 47 of the Interpretation Act 1948 and 1967 (Act 388).

Elaborating on the matter, Tiong said one of the reasons for the action on  Ammar’s was not engaging with industry players.,

“For example with China, I said (target) five million inbound tourists, because they are tourists and they spend, (but) he said it can’t be achieved, (and set)  only three million tourists.

“However, the number of tourists who came did not reach three million, (only) 1.6 million tourists. It means he didn’t carry out engagements, other states complained…there is no answer… so now we have seen all the weaknesses,” he said.

He said Ammar would retire in March next year, but he (Tiong) could not wait until then to take action for the survival of the Malaysian tourism industry.

Meanwhile, Tiong said the Senior Director of International Promotion (Asia & Africa), who is also the Acting Deputy Director-General (Planning), P. Manoharan, will be appointed to replace Ammar and the appointment will be made according to the stipulated procedure. — BERNAMA / pic MEDIA MULIA