3 April 2008
KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism memorandums of understanding with Opposition-ruled state governments will be terminated given the change in leadership, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
She said this was in line with the termination of Tourism Action Councils in the states which were previously chaired by Barisan Nasional’s state executive councillors in charge of tourism in each state.
“Normally, the council works together with the state executive council and local authorities.
“But now that the leadership in the state governments have changed, we have to terminate the MoUs and the councils,” she told a post-Cabinet press briefing yesterday.
Perak, Penang, Selangor and Kedah fell to the Opposition in last month's general election.
Azalina said that a committee would instead be set up, with members appointed by the Federal Government similar to the format implemented in PAS-held Kelantan.
“We will appoint committee members from the tourism community to help develop tourism in these states,” she said.
Azalina said some tourism events, such as the Penang Music Festival (in May) and the Langkawi Water Festival (this weekend), would go ahead and contracts with state contractors would be honoured.
“However, we will re-evaluate plans for other events if they have not started or if the contractors have not been appointed.
“Maybe we have to look at other venues or options. But there is no total boycott in tourism. We have to play it by ear and see what these state governments do,” she added.
Azalina said industry players she met recently, including hoteliers and travel agencies, had expressed concern over tourism in Opposition-held states, given the players’ huge investments, especially in Penang and Kedah.
“They hope there will not be any negative policies in these states that will affect tourism,” she added.
On PKR, DAP and PAS’ decision to form Pakatan Rakyat, Azalina said it would not last long given their different policies, unlike Barisan which had the same manifesto for all.
“Politics is a marriage of convenience. Politicians can say anything they want to gain the people’s support.
“Maybe Pakatan Rakyat will work for a month or a year but it will break up in the end as they are too different,” she added.