In a written reply to Pandan MP Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat on October 26, the Tourism Ministry said Ng spent RM1.67 million on official overseas trips in 2009, and RM1.58 million between January and October this year.
“The tourism minister has made 16 visits overseas since being appointed. These visits include 26 countries, and 61 cities up to October 2010,” said the written reply.
The reply added that the ministry’s efforts overseas had earned Malaysia a ninth out of tenth placing in the “most popularly visited countries” in 2009.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers have accused Ng of excessive spending overseas as minister, and have dubbed her as being more of a “tourist” than “minister”.
Ng has however brushed off the accusations, insisting that the ministry’s promotional activities abroad were instrumental in helping to expand the country’s tourism industry.
Last week, the Tourism Ministry released figures that showed its travel expenses ballooning by 40 per cent since 2008 while its promotion budget shrank by nearly 70 per cent in the same period.
At a press conference today, DAP MP Anthony Loke continued PR’s attacks on Ng’s ministry by pointing out grammatical errors in the brochures for the Malaysian pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
“The purpose of the expo is to showcase what the country can contribute to the world’s economy. Sadly there is nothing in the Malaysian pavilion that shows such a thing,” Loke said.
He pointed out the various spelling errors in the Malaysia pavilion brochure, where the word “development” is spelled as “decelopment” and “visitors” was wrongly spelled as “visitious”.
“Look at this sentence — To know more about Malaysia, we ‘incite’ you to step into the Malaysia Pavilion. What kind of standard is this?”
“Don’t tell me that no single Tourism Ministry official proof read this before printing the brochures? This is highly embarrassing, to say the least.
“Beautiful is even spelled as ‘beautuful’. A shame, really,” added the Rasah MP.