Facebook fiasco earns Yen Yen Cabinet colleagues’ ire

By Clara Chooi
June 17, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — Already facing growing public discontent, Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen was confronted with a hostile Cabinet today when she tried to explain her ministry’s controversial RM1.8 million outlay on six Facebook pages and was even told by some colleagues not to waste their time.

The Malaysian Insider understands several ministers also insisted against announcing that Cabinet had officially accepted Ng’s explanation, preferring instead to say they had taken note of it.

A source who was familiar with what transpired said this was because the ministers did not want Ng to publicly declare that she had been cleared of guilt by the Cabinet led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The source told The Malaysian Insider that rather than addressing the root cause of the allegations against her, the tourism minister had chosen to beat around the bush in defending herself.

Ng, who is also MCA vice-president, was scheduled to explain to the Cabinet today her ministry’s RM1.8 million expense bill for developing six Facebook pages to promote tourism in Malaysia.

“She did not explain [the] cost, not the cost or bill. Only the importance of cyber advertising and other [nonsense],” said the source.

The source said when it grew clear that Ng had no plans to divulge further details or provide a breakdown of her expenses, several ministers cut her short.

“She was trying to explain but she did not finish because people asked her to stop. They said she was just wasting their time. She was not talking about the main thing — the cost and why she spent so much,” said the source.

But the source noted that it was unclear if the prime minister considered Ng’s explanation satisfactory or planned to pursue the matter further.

“The PM was silent on that part. What is clear is that the ministers only want to say that Cabinet has taken note of her explanation and that she should not go and say that Cabinet has accepted it,” said the source.

The debacle over the Tourism Ministry’s Facebook expenses first began on Tuesday when Ng’s deputy, James Dawos Mamit, revealed in Parliament that RM1,758,432 was spent on developing six Facebook pages for Malaysia’s tourism.

He had said each of the six pages — Cuti-Cuti 1 Malaysia, Citrawarna 1Malaysia, Karnival Jualan Mega 1 Malaysia, Festival Pelancongan Seni Kontemporari 1 Malaysia, Kempen 1 Malaysia Bersih and Fabulous Food 1 Malaysia — cost RM293,072

The announcement drew condemnation from the online community and a spontaneous campaign was kicked off on Tuesday evening, inviting thousands to condemn Ng’s exorbitant spending.

Her ministry first entered the spotlight late last year when it was revealed in Parliament that while Ng had slashed her tourism promotional budget, she had spent more for her official trips abroad.

Ng again came under fire after Tourism Malaysia’s former advertising agency alleged that the ministry had asked for bribes in exchange for a promotion contract.

Following the latest complaint against Ng, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday that the Cabinet would seek an explanation from her over the matter and that an investigation would be mooted if she failed to do so satisfactorily.

  1. #1 by pulau_sibu on Friday, 17 June 2011 - 7:48 pm

    really a waste of money because of Najib’s 1. too many 1.

  2. #2 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 12:09 am

    Well, in spite of the amount spent, I am still wondering if even the cabinet really understand the whole exercise? I don’t think they really care. They are only concerned on the fallout votes! Not really the money spent, that is chicken feed! After , what is 1.8, when 1247 had been swept away into the indian Ocean.

  3. #3 by donng55 on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 1:12 am

    I watched Dato Seri Ng Yen Yen on Youtube yesterday explaining to those (presumably reporters) around her about the RM1,758,432 splurge.

    I must admit the whys and wherefores she offered did not surprise me but her arrogant countenance, mycterism, and solecism did.

    Probably she feels that being a minister she must speak the way she does to demonstrate a model of rectitude of herself, her party, and her ministry in public.

    We don’t expect a Malaysian public servant of her level to be punctilious on form and protocol at all times, but how she presented herself that day was totally unacceptable.

    Dr Ng Yen Yen must understand that when she allows her peacock vein to rise once too often in public, she runs a real risk of stoking the fires of hubris.

    BTW, the level of competency in some of MCA leaders’/ministers’ spoken English is utterly embarrassing. They can be doctors, lawyers, etc. but they speak funny. Go to Youtube in Malaysia Insider and check it out yourself. Will someone in MCA for goodness sake organize some evening classes for them, pleaseeee!

  4. #4 by Godfather on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 9:37 am

    Hey, she is just following the example set by UMNO and here MCA predecessors. If Ling and Chan can mislead the government to the tune of billions, why can’t she mislead the cabinet to the tune of RM 1.8 million ? Sap sap sui la….

  5. #5 by dagen on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 9:51 am

    Last hurrahs before the final fall, for umno and gang.

    Let’s make sure everyone around us vote umno out of putrajaya in GE13. Jom. Biar kita semua bersama-sama abukan umno kali ni.

  6. #6 by balance88 on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 10:03 am

    Yen Yen must get it right – as leader of the Ministry she is accountable for everything that goes on in her Ministry. Her explanation is just a bunch of hog wash. She must think Malaysians are real stupid. If Malaysians continue to vote BN in come the next GE, then we are Real Stupid!

  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 10:07 am

    106K on Curi Curi Malaysia. I agree with Tony Pua, its getting a bit unfair to NYY, others spent 77m (Apco) and 64m(ETP consultants) and they don’t attract the same degree protest. Its basically because its easier to understand NYY stupidity and the numbers just reflects her stupidity, not the corruption itself. Even in the cloistered world of UMNO/BN, the law of natural selection is unavoidable..

    The person who figured out how to attract the same degree of protest for the 77m and 64m, will be a genius and likely richly rewarded and save this country even at the same time..

  8. #8 by Winston on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 3:18 pm

    Aren’t they all the same colour?
    Or the same feather?

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