Tourism Minister: Ammar demoted because he can’t perform

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Tourism Malaysia director-general Ammar Abd Ghapar was demoted because he could not perform the given task of attracting tourists into the country, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Tiong King Sing.

He also said Ammar failed to live up to his expected standards despite being given many chances to do so.

“I have advised him many times and given him chances…to do the best for our country. I don’t know whether he does not have ideas or does not know how to do (his job).


“If you don’t perform…I will transfer. I won’t terminate, I will just demote,” Tiong told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today.

Ammar recently confirmed that he received a notice from Tiong’s office that his last day as Tourism DG would be on Feb 26. The notice was dated Feb 22.

He lamented that he was not told about his next posting or position. Ammar is due to retire in February next year.

The minister’s decision courted brickbats from the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Employee Union (KPPLPPM), which stated that the short notice gave a bad perception of civil servants.

Elaborating on the decision, Tiong mentioned that Ammar was not one of the top candidates listed for the job after his predecessor retired but was given the post as he had a doctorate in tourism.

However, Tiong alleged that Ammar’s work performance was not reflective of his qualifications.

Tiong added that Ammar failed in drawing tourists into the country, including from China, and as such, he could not possibly wait for the latter’s retirement next year.

“He (Ammar) cannot plan…he does not contact other countries (on tourism-related matters).

“Whoever can do the job, I will appoint them. If you can’t (perform) please step down…this has nothing to do with racism.

“If Thailand can get 10 million tourists from China, why can’t Malaysia do the same? We got 1.6 million Chinese tourists because of the promotions I carried out. I asked him to follow up on the matter, but he did not,” Tiong added.

Tiong highlighted complaints from various state governments regarding Ammar’s lack of engagement.

He also said another Tourism Malaysia official had been identified as a potential successor to replace Ammar.