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Azmin: Why Spend RM1mil To Hire Jean Todt And Michelle Yeoh?

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 25, 2009

SUARA KEADILAN

By SK English News

MP for Gombak Azmin Ali has asked the government to explain why it spent nearly a million ringgit to hire former Ferrari Formula One owner Jean Todt and his fiance Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as tourism ambassadors for the country when there were already tourism offices in major European cities.

According to the PKR vice president, Todt’s annual fees amounted to RM593,400 while the couple received RM388,000 for holidays in Malaysia. Their flights alone cost up to RM360,000.

“This is only the flight costs. It does not include overseas accommodation, traveling expenses and lifestyle allowance,” Azmin later told reporters at the sidelines of Parliament.

During the sitting,  Deputy Tourism Minister Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib had refused to answer Azmin’s question, saying it was unrelated to the original question which was on the types of films and documentaries produced to promote tourism.

Did the gov’t offer him land? Was it for free?

Azmin also demanded to know if the government had offered land to Todt , who allegedly is building a home in Pulau Besar near Kuala Terengganu.

Todt was given approval this year to participate in the Malaysia My Second Home programme which allows him to buy property and live in Malaysia

“I have proof on the offer of land to Todt in Pulau Besar. I have documents to show that there has been communication between the ministry and Jean Todt on the matter,” said Azmin.

“But I’m not going beyond that until the ministry comes out with an open statement on the matter. Was the land given for free? They have to come clean. What is the premium paid by Jean Todt? What is the acreage given to him?”

Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen later confirmed that Todt was appointed as tourism ambassador for a two-year period beginning May this year. According to her, Todt’s “presence in Europe will increase Malaysia visibility”.

She also claimed that the RM1 million allocated for the tenure of his appointment has yet to be spent.

“The money is not in the form of cash to him. To promote Malaysia in Europe, RM1 million is nothing,” Yen Yen said.

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