‘Pharaoh exhibition not a main event for VM2020’

PUTRAJAYA: The proposed exhibition on Egyptian pharaoh artefacts will not be in the main spotlight under the Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) campaign.

Instead, it will be promoted as a normal exhibition in Malaysian museums, says Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi (pic).

“It will be a normal event. It won’t take centrestage in 2020. But if it’s being displayed, tourists in Kuala Lumpur at that time can go see it, ” he told The Star when met at his office here yesterday.

He said it will be similar to regular touring exhibitions, like the “Golden Man” warrior costume from Kazakhstan, recently displayed in Muzium Negara from Oct 1 to 31.

Mohamaddin said the pharaoh exhibition would also not be raised in the Cabinet meeting since it would not be funded by the government.

“My deputy minister told me he will be looking to raise funds from the private sector to hold the exhibition.

“Since it isn’t involving government funds, there is no need for it to be brought to the Cabinet, ” he said.

Previously, it was reported that Mohamaddin was “in the dark” over deputy minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik’s plans to exhibit the tombs and artefacts of Egyptian pharaohs Ramses II and King Tut, in conjunction with VM2020.

The Egyptian government had given its approval for the exhibition, which is supposed to take place in October next year.

Mohamaddin later clarified that he had signed the letter to bring in the Egyptian artefacts for an exhibition, but was not informed of its approval by the museum director-general or deputy minister.

This led to him being clueless on the matter, when the media approached him for comment.

Lamenting the miscommunication, Mohamaddin said this could have been avoided if he was duly informed.

“If they would just inform me that it had been approved and they would like to announce it to the press, by all means, they could. I don’t mind.

“There is no need to hide such things from me, ” he said.

On another matter, Mohamaddin dismissed criticisms from Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto, accusing him of brushing off child sexual abuse concerns during VM2020.

Kasthuri, a government backbencher, had asked Mohamaddin in the Dewan Rakyat about efforts to deal with child sexual predators coming in as tourists.

In his Facebook post, Mohamaddin said child sexual abuse cases were not under his ministry’s purview.

“Such cases are criminal in nature and if these crimes happen, the public need to report them to the police for necessary action to be taken, ” he said.

He added that he was confident that the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and Home Ministry had plans and comprehensive mechanisms to deal with human trafficking including child sexual abuse.

“For my ministry, aside from being the main engine of promoting our country’s tourism, we are always open to strategic collaborations with relevant departments and enforcement agencies on this issue, ” Mohamaddin said.

Among efforts which can be done are to distribute awareness flyers on such criminal issues prepared by the ministries involved.

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