GEORGE TOWN: Tourism industry players have been warned that they can be penalised if they misuse the names of ministers.
Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said some individuals and organisations had been dropping his and other ministers’ names for their own interests.
He said this could tarnish the image of the minister and wants the practice stopped immediately.
Announcing that a minister will be attending an event without his approval is wrong and the culprits can be penalised for it, he said in response to a report that an organisation had claimed that he had given verbal agreement to attend its event.
“If we accept or reject an invitation, my office will respond to the organisers in writing,“ he added.
Mohamaddin also said the federal government is expected to announce positive news on the Visa-On-Arrival (VOA) for tourists after the Aidilfitri celebrations in June or July.
He said his ministry and the Home Ministry are ironing out certain issues and an announcement will be made soon.
“We were in discussion with the Home Minister to sort out some issues regarding the VOA including making it easier for tourists to come into Malaysia, more lenient and relaxed in requirements to increase the number of visitors annually,“ he said.
Earlier, while attending the welcoming ceremony for the “Spectrum of the Seas”, a new cruise ship by Royal Caribbean International, he said cruise ships made 614 port calls in Malaysia last year, bringing 932,737 cruise passengers in total.
In view of the sector’s immense potential, he said that the government has agreed to the formation of a Malaysia Cruise Council, which will become the governing body for the cruise industry.
The country expects to record 30 million tourists with receipts worth RM100 million next year.
Also at the welcoming ceremony were US ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Lakdhir, Penang Port Commission chairman Jeffrey Chew and Pulau Tikus state asssemblyman Chris Lee.