Tourism Malaysia’s director-general gets reassigned

Ammar Abd Ghapar, director-general, Tourism Malaysia has been unexpectedly reassigned to the position of deputy director-general of Tourism Malaysia.

His tenure as director-general of Tourism Malaysia, which began on April 12, 2023, concludes today. As of press time, a successor has not been named.

Ammar Abd Ghapar has been reassigned to the position of deputy director-general of Tourism Malaysia

On February 23, 2024, news of Ammar’s abrupt dismissal from his role as director-general of Tourism Malaysia sent shockwaves through the Malaysian tourism industry, prompting calls for clarification from Malaysia’s minister of tourism, arts, and culture, Tiong King Sing.

The Malaysian Tourism Federation (MTF) has issued a press statement on Friday expressing concern over Ammar’s sudden and unexplained termination.

MTF’s secretary-general, Sri Ganesh Michiel, remarked that the unexpected termination caught industry players off guard, emphasising that a detailed explanation was needed from both Tiong and Malaysia’s prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim.

He stressed the need for transparency to address any uncertainties among stakeholders and to ensure the stability and competitiveness of Malaysia’s tourism sector, especially amid the ongoing recovery from the pandemic.

Michiel stated: “It is essential for the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board to have an experienced, strong and stable leadership in order to elevate Malaysia’s tourism industry and enhance its competitiveness in the regional market. This move is highly disheartening for both Tourism Malaysia, and Malaysia’s tourism sector as a whole.”

Following the launch of the National Craft Day at Kompleks Kraf in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, reporters queried Tiong about Ammar’s sudden dismissal.

Tiong responded by citing “non-performance”, as reported by New Sunday Times. He alleged that Ammar had not devised any strategies to enhance the tourism industry, and asserted that stakeholders had raised concerns about the lack of engagement from the tourism board.

The minister also expressed dissatisfaction with the under achievement of Chinese target arrivals last year and unfavourably compared Malaysia’s two million Chinese tourist arrivals with Thailand’s achievement of attracting 10 million.

Tiong remarked: “Ammar was supposed to end his term in March next year, but for the sake of the tourism industry, I cannot wait until next year to take action.”

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