A New Chapter for Tourism Malaysia: Anticipation Builds for the Appointment of Manoharan Periasamy as Director-General

By The Malketeer

Kudos to the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing. You certainly have the spine, guts, and gumption to tackle non-performance unlike the other Madanistas in the Unity Government.

“We hope Manoharan’s appointment will usher in a new wave of professionalism and accountability, unlike Tourism’s well-documented checkered past of corrupt and unethical practices,” articulated a seasoned senior advertising practitioner, who requested anonymity.

“We applaud Mano’s impending promotion and will support him. However, we also want him to know that we will be keeping a very watchful eye to see no more shenanigans like what has been happening in the past,” he added.

His views echo the overall reaction from the tourism and advertising fraternity on their expectations for a more transparent, accountable, efficient and dynamic-driven Tourism Malaysia.

The time for lack-lustre performance is over and it is time for immediate action and heads to roll.

With the dramatic departure of Datuk Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar from the helm, Tourism Malaysia is abuzz with speculation regarding his successor.

Interestingly, Ammar hinted at the likelihood of Manoharan Periasamy, the current Senior Director of International Promotions for Asia and Africa, stepping into the role, in an interview with a local media.

Sources confirm the readiness of the official appointment this week, setting the stage for a significant transition.

Manoharan, who currently holds the position of Acting Deputy Director-General of Planning at Tourism Malaysia, has garnered attention as a frontrunner for the director-general role.

Acknowledging the widespread speculation, Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing remained coy about confirming the appointment, teasing the media with the prospect of Manoharan having tea with him.

However, Tiong said that a formal announcement on Ammar’s replacement is imminent.

Tourism Malaysia has been in the news in the past over several controversial issues of transparency and accountability especially in the selection and appointment of questionable vendors who lack the expertise and skills in managing various promotional campaigns that run into hundreds of millions of ringgit.






Many netizens have hailed the decision of Tiong citing the need for Tourism Malaysia to be run along professional lines to ensure that the country does not lose out to the lucrative tourism market which is highly competitive.

Well done minister!! You appear to one of the few ministers in the Cabinet with a spine and clear picture of what needs to be done in your Ministry! Syabas!,” posted a netizen on a popular online platform.

Very refreshing to see a minister holding the ministry and officers accountable. The DG clearly does not understand that he has a job to do and if he does not do it, he has to go. It is not about doing anything wrong but about taking a salary and failing to do the job. Too many DGs taking Gaji Buta. To improve our economy the leaders, need to clear them out!” added another online posting.

The decision to replace Ammar comes after Tiong cited underperformance as the primary reason for his demotion to the position of Deputy Director-General.

Dismissing claims of racism, Tiong asserted that the move was necessary to ensure capable leadership in promoting tourism. Tiong, alongside his deputy minister Khairul Firdaus AkhbarKhan, had provided extensive advice to Ammar, who struggled to deliver satisfactory results.

Addressing complaints from state governments about Ammar’s lack of engagement, Tiong defended the decision to reassign him, asserting fairness and the need to safeguard the interests of the tourism industry.

The termination notice, signed by Tiong and dated Feb 22, invoked the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board Act 1992, indicating a procedural move within the framework of the law.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali clarified the authority to appoint and terminate the director-general, emphasising that it lies with the Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister, as outlined in the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board Act 1992. This clarification aimed to address circulating reports and social media discussions regarding Ammar’s removal.

However, the embattled former director-general, Datuk Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar, questioned the procedure of his demotion. Expressing concerns about the lack of due process, Ammar emphasised the need for a fair and transparent assessment of his alleged declining performance. Despite Tiong’s assertion that he was not terminated but reassigned, Ammar called for adherence to established procedures, particularly in a government agency.

The Malaysian Tourism Federation (MTF) expressed concerns over the sudden decision, seeking clarification and advocating for transparency. Dr Sri Ganesh Michiel, MTF secretary-general, emphasised the need for an explanation from the Ministry of Arts, Culture, and Tourism to address public and private stakeholders’ concerns.

As anticipation builds for Manoharan Periasamy’s appointment, the tourism industry watches closely, hoping for a seamless transition and renewed commitment to elevating Malaysia’s position as a premier tourist destination.

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