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'Manhandled' By Azalina

Anybody watching the live telecast on last Tuesday November 4th would have seen how I was ‘manhandled’ by Azalina. My reference to her unfair treatment towards the Pakatan states brought out a barrage of remarks belittling my remarks leading to her accusing the Exco for Tourism in Selangor not giving her Ministry the support it warrants.

Such is the nature of these question and answer sessions in the Parliament where the Minister can get away with any kind of answer and we who put forward the question have no oppurtunity to respond. It is obvious that no state government in its right mind would boy-cott or be uncooperative with big brother, the federal Government. It would have nothing to gain and all to lose. It has always been, and the current case is no exception, that the BN Federal government, the one with the bigbucks, who isolate, intimidate, bully and discriminate against those non BN state governments.

But it being her floor at the Parliament, she gets to have the last word. Or does she?

Please find below the Press Statement released by YB Elizabeth, the Selangor State Exco who holds the tourism portfolio.

Press Statement
5 November 2008


I am aghast by the false statements made by the Minister for Tourism, Azalina Othman during Question Time in Parliament on Tuesday 4 November 2008, which were aired live on RTM1 and reported by major newspapers and blogs today.

From the news reports, she had misled the august House, among other misleading information, on the following:-

1. That I did not attend the opening of the Ministry of Tourism's launch of 'ZOOM' ('No party sentiments in promoting tourism', Bernama, 5 November 2008)
2. That I was invited to Pulau Carey during the Minister's visit there. ('Pelancongan: Negeri pembangkang tidak dipinggir, Utusan Malaysia ms 8, 5 November 2008)
3. That I lied to the Honourable Member of Parliament Shah Alam, Khalid Samad ('We're fair to all states: Azalina', The SUN, page 6, 5 November 2008)

For the record, I was present at the Ministry's launch of 'ZOOM' where Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi graced the event. The Exco for Tourism from Kedah, Penang and I even had the opportunity to speak to the Prime Minister, who was seated on the next table.
The Minister challenged me to prove that I was never invited to Pulau Carey in her programme there (Berita Harian, 5 November 2008). Allow me to state publicly that I was never invited to Pulau Carey by the Minister. In fact the Minister herself has never stepped foot officially on Pulau Carey.

In Selangor, the Minister has visited the following sites - Batu Caves, Pulau Ketam and Royal Gallery Klang. On those occasions, I was left out on purpose, whereas by convention, I should have been informed to host or to to accompany the Minister.

Similarly, I have never received an invitation to programmes organised by the Selangor Tourism Action Council (MTPN-Selangor).

It is an open secret that since the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry and state governments was cancelled after the General Elections, and with the chairmanship of the State Tourism Action Councils in the 5 Pakatan Rakyat states relegated to BN officials, there has been very limited communication and cooperation of the Ministry with Pakatan Rakyat states.

Even the General Manager of the Selangor Tourism Action Council, when invited to meet me for discussions on tourism matters, was too frightened to meet officially. In the end, he only spoke to me on a personal basis.

The disconnect between the state governments and State Tourism Action Councils is glaringly unproductive and unhealthy for the nation. Further, the signal sent to the tourism industry is extremely negative and jeopardises the tradition of close collaboration of the state government with related government agencies.

I do not wish to prolong this unnecessary protracted war of words with the Minister. It has been 7 months since we took office, and the Minister should be looking into revamping the current communication channels to foster closer and productive ties with state governments. To carry on in this current mode of operations and communications is detrimental to the nation.

Nonetheless, Pakatan Rakyat states' Excos on tourism will continue to soldier on despite the odds, as we are mindful of the national importance of tourism to the economic health and wealth of the nation.

Tourism is a national agenda and all parties should be mindful that success in this sector needs proper official channels and access to plans, programmes and decision-making by the state governments to the Ministry of Tourism. Political interference serves only personal agendas. To this end, I have from very beginning, instructed state officials, including local councils, to cooperate fully with the Ministry of Tourism.

I call on the Minister to apologise publicly as her statements, assertions and insinuations have gravely affected my credibility and that of the Selangor state government. Failure to do so will compel me to refer the Minister to the House Committee of Privileges for censure.

Released by,

Elizabeth Wong
EXCO for Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment
Selangor State Government.

What I can safely say, with no fear of prosecution from any party, is that the PR MPs are proof of BNs discriminatory tendencies and policies. I believe this tendency developes as a result of holding power for too long. One gets arrogant and starts to think that there is no law but your own which, being your own, you can break any time you wish. Yup, its an open secret, we PR MPs have no access whatsoever to the allocation for MPs which is said to be around RM 500,000 per annum. This is the development allocation which the MPs are supposed to use to help the people in their constituencies. So, if the BN is discriminatory in this aspect, what is there to prevent them from being discriminatory in all. It has become second nature.

WalLahu 'Alam


Hasbullah Pit said…
Hairan juga kenapa BN tak letakkan Ali Rustam di Parlimen. dn jadikanna menteri Perlancongan.

Dia itu memerintah melaka, pentingkan pelancong sahaja.

Makan Perlancongan, Tidur pelancongan.
I think YB should publish Elizabeth's press statement out loud to the rakyat...

We knew all along, the Ministers will always answer with lies over lies...

Ill ask Azalina to answer to Elizabeth's press statement in my blog if you allow me.
Anonymous said…
Uncle Khalid

I watched the video in which you debated with Azalina on this on, about half an hour before I arrived at this very blog post of yours.

Just judging from the video, Azalina appeared to be right in her argument (perhaps because she had the last say and because she was articulate).

But now upon reading this blog post of yours, it is shocking to know that Azalina had so very glibly lied about all this, with no hesitation.


How could a Minister just lie and get away with it?

I really hope that something can be done to prevent BN politicians from doing this again and getting away with it.

I also want to thank you for boldly raising up the issue in Parliament! Good job and do know that we the rakyat appreciate it (even though I'm not from Selangor; I'm from Negeri Sembilan).
Khalid Samad said…
Thanks for the comments Hasbullah, Mantra and Ravi.

I have no problems with your posting YB Elizabeths statement in your Blog Mantra. Feel free to do with the articles as you please, as long as it helps in showing the hypocrisy of the BN government.

I will raise the issue in Parliament Ravi, or one of the PKR MPs will, as we do not wish to let them off scot free when they lie.


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