What’s Going on at Tourism Malaysia?

TM may have pulled off another confusing manoeuvre or two…

Advertising and media pitches for the Tourism Malaysia business are nothing short of dramatic…if not of the suspicious kind. I have come to regard the shenanigans that go with their processes to be “business as usual”.

In February 2020, Tourism Malaysia (TM) appointed The IO Movement to handle global advertising and promotion duties worth about RM89.1 million, following a pitch and re-pitch, both called in 2019.

Soon after, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested three company directors allegedly involved in a bribery case to secure a government ad contract reportedly from TM worth RM90 million.

The MACC said the company’s directors allegedly “submitted false documents” and produced false information to obtain the contract.

We wrote about it extensively here.

From January to September of 2020, Malaysia welcomed 4,299,419 tourists, marking a 78.6% decrease when compared to the same period the year before when Malaysia welcomed over 20.1 million tourist arrivals.

TM is known for many other stunts that have not gone unnoticed.

Like the lightning-fast re-tender exercise in 2019 for the above result attracting MACC’s involvement.

MACC streamlines improvements in TM’s procurement

In October last year, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), TM and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) signed a Consultancy Service Report based on an inspection conducted by the MACC Inspection and Consultancy Division (BPmP).

The suggestions was agreed on after MACC presented 15 improvements for the Advertisement Broadcasting Service Procurement process through the media by TM.

MACC shared the findings of the report regarding procurement to MOTAC Secretary-General Dato Dr. Noor Zari Hamat; TM Chairman Dato’ Seri Ramlan Ibrahim and TM then Director-General Datuk Musa Yusof.

More here.

But I feel the confusions at TM continue…

The never ending pitch

Reportedly, TM is on the hunt for agencies to manage media and PR duties for its domestic account over the next 12 months.

According to TM, the advertising agency will manage electronic, print, billboards, fine art and other advertising media.

The advertising account subsequently was confusingly reported to be worth more than RM40 million while the PR business is worth a little over RM3 million.

The appointments are for 12 months, see tables, and also has  confusing closing dates of September 20, 2021 displayed.

Link here: https://www.tourism.gov.my/procurement

However, upon closer examination of the table, the amounts shown are what 8 of the 11 creative agencies (red box) each requested for their respective budgets, with 3 agencies not even submitting any budget (red arrows in table).

Are those 3 creative agencies, which did not submit any budget request, expected to submit their requested budgets at a later date and why so?

Hmm….who is to fill in the blanks?

Should they be disqualified for not doing so?

Also, this tender was opened in May this year with the closing date being May 27, 2021 and there was an Online Video Briefing made to all the contenders by two Tourism officials at 10.30am on May 6, 2021.

The closing date was then postponed by about a month to June 23, 2021. 

At the briefing, vying agencies were told verbally that the budget is probably no more than RM6 million, referring to the advertising tender. That throws the earlier figures reported out of whack, and TM had not indicated any budget in their RFP in the first place.

Sources tell us the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, is not in the loop regarding this tender exercise after more than a month following the already month-long postponement.

But we can’t officially confirm this.

Maybe everyone is in a blind spot as COVID still distorts our memory and ways of working.

We want to correct the earlier false reporting so we sought clarification from TM two weeks ago.

A few senior officials we spoke to repeatedly said that an earlier news report about the pitches being worth more than RM40 million and RM3 million respectively are all false.

And they told us they will be giving us an official statement soon.

We are still waiting for it.

They can reach me at [email protected].


Just last week, TM issued an open Request for Quotation (RFQ) for its domestic account or Cuti-Cuti Malaysia’s song and jingle. Should that not have been part and parcel of what each of the 8, if not all 11, creative agencies have included in their requested budgets for doing their work in the specified next 12 months?

Pening lah…

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