Malaysian Tourism Facebook Pages Spark Revolt

Malaysian Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen is facing a revolt -- on Facebook, and over Facebook.

Malaysian Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen is facing a revolt — on Facebook, and over Facebook.

The Malaysian Insider reported that what started out as a social media campaign by some users who were critical of the ministry spending $593,000 (1.8 million ringgits) to manage its Facebook accounts mushroomed into protest page Curi-curi Wang Malaysia, tallying nearly 105,000 fans at the time of this post.

For comparison’s sake, the ministry’s official Facebook page, Tourism Malaysia, had less than 38,000 fans.

According to The Malaysian Insider, Deputy Tourism Minister James Dawos Mamit said in Parliament that $578,038 was spent to develop six Facebook pages to promote Malaysia’s tourism — $96,545 on each of the following six pages: Cuti-Cuti 1 Malaysia, Citrawarna 1Malaysia, Karnival Jualan Mega 1 Malaysia, Festival Pelancongan Seni Kontemporari 1 Malaysia, Kempen 1 Malaysia Bersih, and Fabulous Food 1 Malaysia.

Yen Yen countered that the money was spent for an “integrated social media campaign,” covering the cost of six campaigns over seven months, including contests and advertising on Google and Facebook, The Malaysian Insider reported.

The About information for Curi-curi Wang Malaysia reads:

LIKE this page. We can prove to government we no need to spend RM1.8M for a success fan page. We want our mismanaged money back! Please use English or Malay when posting for everyone can understand our voices. Keep this page clean from SPAM too, thanks!

And The Malaysian Insider reported that a post on the page’s wall said it attracted 19,705 fans within 24 hours of its launch and 65,870 in 48 hours.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Cabinet would seek an explanation from Yen Yen, and the government might investigate the matter if it was not satisfied with her response, according to The Malaysian Insider.

Readers, do you think that the Malaysian tourism authorities have spent too much money on their Facebook pages?