PARLIAMENT Former tourism minister Dr Ng Yen Yen’s one-day trip to Singapore in June this year cost the government RM12,978.50 while another similar visit in February cost RM9,263.
In her capacity as Tourism Malaysia chairperson, Ng has gone on 14 official trips that came to a total cost of RM396,465,37.
This was revealed in a parliamentary written response by Tourism Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz to DAP’s Seremban MP Anthony Loke, who requested for a list of Ng’s official trips and their costs while she was in office from June 17, 2013 to June 16 this year.
According to Nazri’s response, made during the recent Parliament sitting, Ng had gone to Singapore in June to deliver a briefing for industry players at the MyFest2015 event.
However, the day trip in February was just listed as 'a working trip'.
Other notable costs included RM67,266 spent for a five-day visit to Durban and Johannesburg in South Africa, where Ng attended the World Travel Market Africa exhibition.
In March, a one-week visit to Bali and Jakarta, Indonesia, had cost the ministry RM34,813.
Loke first raised the issue of Ng travelling at the rakyat’s expense during one of his debates in Parliament in 2013.
He had at the time urged Nazri to keep a close eye on Ng’s spending, alleging that during her tenure as tourism minister, there were concerns raised over extensive travels that involved questionable spendings.
Luring China tourists
Nazri, in a response then, said that Ng was selected as Toursim Malaysia chairperson for her ability to speak Mandarin as Malaysia wanted to attract more tourists from China.
Loke rebutted, pointing out that Ng’s first official visit was to Mumbai, India, and not to China, to which Nazri reportedly quipped that he would ask his predecessor to focus more on China.
However, in his latest response to Loke, Nazri said Ng's first official trip listed was indeed to Guangzhou, Zhangjiajie, Xian, Beijing and Huangzhou in China, which came to a total cost of RM27,380.
During the past two years, Ng had also made four other official trips to various districts in China, he added.
There was also no mention of any official visit to Mumbai.
Ng was succeeded as Tourism Malaysia chairperson by former Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong on June 17 this year.