Thursday 16 June 2011

Yen Yen to face Cabinet over Facebook debacle, says DPM

June 16, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 — Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today that Cabinet would seek an explanation from Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen over the tourism ministry’s RM1.8 million expenditure to develop six Facebook pages.

Muhyiddin said that if the tourism minister’s explanation was not satisfactory, the government might investigate the matter.

“I think the Cabinet will ask for a complete report from the (tourism) minister tomorrow and she can explain the basis of the expenditure,” he told reporters here today.

“The explanation has already been given in Parliament but if people are unsatisfied then we can ask for a detailed (report). We have nothing to hide especially when it involves public expenditure.”

Yesterday Dr Ng appeared to have contradicted her ministry’s detailed account of the cost for each page when she said that the Facebook pages were free. Her deputy, James Dawos Mamit, had told Parliament that each Facebook page had cost RM293,072.

Dr Ng said the RM1.8 million would cover the cost of six different campaigns over seven months, and included the cost of contests and advertising on Google and Facebook.

DAP Youth chief Anthony Loke had said that unless Dr Ng explained the reason behind the “exorbitant” costs for the “social media branding” exercise, he would lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Citrawarna 1 Malaysia, the most popular page, has so far attracted 20,292 Facebook fans since it was launched on May 21.

The ministry had said that the RM1.8 million included costs for designing, flash programming and coding, testing and debugging, uploading and launching the application, system server deployment and campaign management.

In March last year, Integrated Strategic Communications, the advertising agency behind the award-winning “Malaysia, Truly Asia” tourism campaign, charged that it withdrew a bid to renew its contract with the Tourism Ministry after being asked for bribes in exchange for the deal.

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