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Sunday, August 23, 2015
Chua: Treasury to look into the matter following appeals
PETALING JAYA: The Treasury will review the cut imposed on Tourism Malaysia’s promotional and advertising budget.
This follows a meeting between Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong and travel industry players on Thursday.
“We will look into the issue, but we need to take into consideration the fiscal demands on the Government,” Chua said when contacted yesterday.
On Monday, The Star reported that Malaysia was falling behind as a destination of choice for tourists due to the massive RM50mil cut on promotions and advertising.
The report stated that droves of tourists who used to fly in were dwindling in numbers much to the dismay of the local travel sector, which was still reeling from the fallout caused by last year’s twin air tragedies.
Tourism Malaysia chairman Wee Choo Keong had said that the amount reduced was 25% of the RM200mil that had been allocated annually to the body over the past 15 years.
Wee said he had appealed to the Government to reverse its decision.
Chua acknowledged that the budget slash posed a challenge to Tourism Malaysia.
But he explained that such cuts were made across the board following a national Budget review earlier this year.
He said it was up to Tourism Malaysia to optimise its funds for promotions.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Hamzah Rahmat, who was among those who met Chua, said officials from the Home Ministry and Immigration Department were also present.
“They wanted to hear our views as they are preparing for next year’s budget,” Hamzah added.
Hamzah said MATTA’s position was that agencies and departments bringing in revenue should not be subject to budget cuts.
“If we don’t put in the capital, how can we bring in revenue?” he asked.
Hamzah said the issue would be raised again when MATTA meets Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Thursday.
The meeting, the body’s first with the Prime Minister, is to raise concerns of the travel industry which had suffered a drop of between 30% and 40% in business.