Question over funds for museum

Tan (second right) handing over the letter to Kevin to be delivered to Chow. With them are (from left) Bagan MCA division secretary Chan Wooi Jin, Penang MCA liaison committee spokesperson Ooi Teik Liang, Permatang Pauh MCA Youth chief Edmond Mah and Penang MCA Youth chief Lim Swee Bok.

AN allocation of RM413,940 from the state tourism tax to Penang Asia Comic Cultural Museum has come under scrutiny by a political party.

MCA has questioned why a business entity was allocated such a big amount and not other museums in the state.

The party urged the Penang government to explain the move.

National MCA deputy youth organising secretary Tan Yang Pang said it was baffling that financial assistance was extended to one museum when there were others which were not allocated any funds.

Tan was referring to a reply in the last state assembly sitting from state tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin to Berapit assemblyman Heng Lee Lee.

Heng had asked about the amount of tourism tax collected in 2018 and 2019 and how its usage benefitted the tourism industry directly.

Yeoh had said that out of RM11,975,760, which was 50% of the total sum collected for the two years (the other 50% was taken by the Federal Government), RM413,940 was given to Penang Asia Comic Cultural Museum.

Tan was speaking before handing over a protest letter on the issue in Komtar on Wednesday to Kevin Vimal Xavier, a representative from the Chief Minister’s office.

“The Chief Minister should take the necessary steps to ensure every entity in the tourism sector is given financial assistance and not only the ones which have close ties with DAP, ” said Tan.

He added that the said museum was not even in the top 19 museums in the state.

“The amount collected could have been used as a special fund under the tourism industry to help those who were laid off during the pandemic, ” he said.

“The RM400,000 roughly could have been given equally to 800 jobless individuals who could have received RM500 each.”

Penang Asia Comic Cultural Museum responded in a statement that since inception, the museum rental had been subsidised by the state.

“As a gesture of gratitude, we provided 3,000 tickets this year to be distributed to guests in various hotels in Penang to promote tourism and cultural exchanges.

“However, due to Covid-19, this campaign was disrupted, ” said the statement.

As at press time, Yeoh could not be reached for comment.

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