GEORGE TOWN (April 25, 2008): Opalyn Mok and Diana Chin
Former Gerakan Wanita chief Datuk Kee Phaik Cheen, a veteran in the state's tourism industry, has been appointed Penang Tourism Action Council (PTAC) chairman.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, who announced Kee's appointment in a press conference here today, said Kee is the best person as she is very well versed in the tourism industry.
"Kee is an experienced person in tourism and she will be able to manage all state tourism events," she added.
Kee used to chair PTAC in 2004 and she was also the former Tourism Malaysia deputy chairman.
When asked about the Pakatan Rakyat state government's intention to set up its own Penang Tourism Council (PTC), Azalina said the state has a right to do whatever it wants.
On whether PTAC will continue organising all the pre-planned tourism events for the state, such as the International Lantern Festival, Azalina said: "All planned events will continue without changes."
"We fulfill all our promises, unlike other governments," she said.
When pressed further on whether there is any conflict or confusion on the roles of PTAC and the yet-to-be-formed PTC, Kee said there should not be any confusion at all.
"PTAC works under the ministry and Tourism Malaysia. We want to revamp PTAC by making sure that it is in sync with the ministry," she said.
On PTC, Kee said: "It's a good move. ... it shows the state government is very tourism-conscious. PTC will be more for the state and it is good for Penang to have both PTAC and PTC to promote tourism."
Asked whether PTAC will work with PTC, Kee said: "PTAC has a direct link with the federal government and it has its own policies and directives. Of course, we will work together when it comes to doing events."
She cited the upcoming Dragon Boat Club Crew World Championship event as an example.
"The RM500,000 allocated for the event will be used for the event and I will make sure that the teams turn up for the event or else it would have been a waste to spend so much on it," she said.
On the state government's claim that the federal government had failed to fulfil its pledge to allocate RM1 million for the event, Azalina said the federal government could not be subsidising all events.
"We can't pay the full sum. Events plananed, we will support but a lot of things that we support does not only mean monetary support," she said.
Azalina also spoke on:
> setting up of the National Tourism Consultative Council which will act as a platform for all tourism industry players.
> The council will gather all ministry representatives, government agencies, entrepreneurs as well as non-governmental organisations which are related in anyway to the tourism sector to help increase the quality of service in the industry.
> the ministry will no longer organise "syok sendiri" programmes which does not draw foreign tourists.
> the ministry will only focus on big events which will draw in tourism money for all sectors in the industry rather than small events which will only benefit small sections of the tourism industry