To all intents and purposes, the “Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2020” logo which was commissioned by Tourism Malaysia is functional. It may look amateurish. It may have been a five-minute job made with Microsoft Word and Paint.
I don’t care. I never backtrack
The logo which Tourism Minister, Nazri Aziz, unveiled at its launch in Chiang Mai caused outrage amongst Malaysians. The minister was resolute, and in his typical arrogant and brusque style said, “Criticism is normal. I launched it in Chiang Mai and everyone praised it.
“This logo is for foreign tourists. It is not for domestic use, I don’t care.”
This phrase, “I don’t care” seems to be an ominous allusion to the refrain of the #undirosak movement.
Nazri added that he was not going to change the logo and said, “Nazri Aziz never backtracks. This is what will be used for the world, only one logo, no other logo.”
The logo may lack “sophistication” and appeal but it serves its function which is to inform the public about Visit Malaysia Year in 2020; although many disagree.
William Hu, works in advertising and said, “The logo is cluttered and looks messy. The fonts are of different sizes. The colours clash. An artistic primary school child could do better; moreover, the person who designed this logo, watches too many “Ali G” programs. No-one says, “Respect” any more. It is so dated.”
Are Malaysians becoming more sceptical or are they more culturally aware? They were outraged that the logo for an event as important as VMY 2020 could look so indistinct.
The Ministry of Tourism has a history of previous ministers, whose actions have been questionable. In his book, “Curi-Curi Malaysia” veteran journalist, R. Nadeswaran, exposed the cheating, and exorbitant expenses claimed by Malaysian officials, who stayed in London, to attend the Chelsea Flower Show (CFS).
He revealed that the Malaysian CFS garden exhibit did not have any Malaysian plant species. Strict quarantine laws had to be respected and so, the award-winning Malaysian garden contained plants which, although native to Malaysia, were sourced and cultivated in Holland.
Then in 2011, the erstwhile Tourism Minister, Dr Ng Yen Yen, was alleged to have spent RM1.8 million to set up a Facebook page, which she denied. She claimed that the money had been spent on a full social media branding campaign.
The alleged abuses of funds are not confined to the Tourism Ministry. For instance, the Defence Ministry spent hundreds of millions of Euros of the rakyat’s money on the purchase of two French Scorpene submarines that were substandard and probably ready for the scrap-heap.
In a recent property transaction involving MARA, the original seller of UniLodge was shocked that MARA Inc Sdn Bhd had claimed to have paid double the price of the property. Who enjoyed the “profits”?
Modus operandi of corruption
Closer to home, government audits have uncovered major scams in most, if not all, government departments. The true price of a computer may be only a few hundred ringgits, but the taxpayer has to fork-out several thousands of ringgits. Who enjoys the money? Why does this scam recur every year, without anyone from the Treasury being able to plug this waste? We have heard about overcharging for clocks, National Service uniforms, pens, screwdrivers, tools and other items.
Many Malaysians wondered if the VMY 2020 logo was “fake”. Many did not beleive Nazri when he denied claims that his ministry had paid a graphic design firm hundreds of thousands of ringgits for the design.
He said, “We did not use external firms and we did not spend anything. Everything was done internally, using our own staff.
“I have faith in my own staff, rather than spending hundreds of thousands to pay someone from outside. (sic)
“It is free because the graphic designer was a member of our staff.”
One political cynic said, “Does Nazri expect us to beleive that it was free?”
Preferring to give Nazri the benefit of the doubt, a professional artist said, “When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. In this case, the monkeys may have taken over the asylum.
“We should thank the artist, because his VMY 2020 logo has highlighted the abuse of taxpayers’ funds.”