With hopes to collect funds for various charities in Penang, the 1Malaysia Penang International Charity Drive will host performances from a slew of local and international music acts.
Catch local acts Ning Baizura and Suchitra warming up the stage or Asian superstars Eric Moo 巫啟賢, Gigi Leung 梁詠琪, Grasshopper 草蜢, Leon Lai 黎明, Alan Tham 譚詠麟, Hacken Lee 李克勤, George Lam 林子祥 and Angela Chang 張韶涵.
Gigi Leung confirmed that she’s not coming for 1Malaysia Penang International Charity Drive due to personal reason.
But of course, the spotlight is on international acts including American hip hop stars Busta Rhymes, Ludacris and Swizz Beatz as well as Redfoo of electronic dance duo LMFAO.
Ticket prices (by donations):
Min RM1 per ticket – Peace Zone
Min RM2 per ticket – Unity Zone
Free entry for children under the age of 12
Additional donations are welcome
Free shuttle bus
Free shuttle bus service from 2.00pm – 5.00pm and 11.30pm until 1.30am at:
Autocity (Free shuttle bus stop), Pink
Megamall (in front of Ixora Hotel), Blue
All Seasons Place (main entrance), Farlim, Orange
Prangin Mall, Purple
Queensbay Mall (South entrance, in front of Coffee Bean), White
Penang Times Square, Ground Floor
Penang Plaza, Main Entrance
Han Jiang School Penang
Sunshine Farlim (1st Floor, next to escalator)
Sunshine Square Bayan Lepas (opposite McDonald’s Kiosk)
Tesco Tanjung Tokong (opposite McDonald’s)
Pacific Mega Mall, Prai, Concourse Area
Tesco Bukit Mertajam, Ground Floor
Sungei Wang Plaza, Main Entrance
1. Fill in the form
2. Please bring the form to one of the ticketing centers below together with a photocopy of the I/C and donations(s). (I don’t understand why they need photocopy of I/C??)
3. Please note that each person can only bring a maximum of 10 forms together with photocopy of the I/Cs as proof. Free entry for children under the age of 12.
For further information, please call +010-5122368
Almost RM4mil collected for concert
Final touches: (From left) Chow, Geh and Low conducting a site inspection of the HCHS field.
GEORGE TOWN: The 1Malaysia Welfare Club has sold over 55,000 tickets for a charity concert featuring international artistes at the Han Chiang High School (HCHS) field.
Businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, said the club had collected RM3.98mil from ticket sales and donations from corporate and individual donors as of noon yesterday.
He said they were hopeful of achieving their RM5mil target set earlier.
“I hope everyone will enjoy themselves tomorrow. Each artiste is expected to perform three or four songs,” he said at a press conference after a site inspection of the HCHS field yesterday.
Also present was 1Malaysia Penang Welfare Club president Geh Choh Hun.
It was earlier reported that the concert, organised by the club, would see Redfoo of LMFAO, Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes and Ludacris in action, along with Hong Kong superstars Leon Lai, Alan Tham, Hacken Lee, George Lam, Gigi Leung and Grasshopper.
Other featured artistes include Ning Baizura, Eric Moo, Suchitra, Taiwanese Angela Chang and Berlin-based Compressorhead Robot Band.
Low said the gates would be opened at 3.30pm tomorrow, adding that the concert would kick off with performances by local artistes at 5pm.
Meanwhile, he rubbished allegations that the organiser would “pass off” details from photocopied MyKad for others to vote in the polls.
“Asking the public to produce their photocopied MyKad in exchange for tickets was to prevent unscrupulous parties from bulk buying and ‘black marketing’ later.
“Besides, we are bound by the Personal Data and Protection Act 2010 to ensure the secrecy of any personal data collected,” he said.
The concert’s system and sound engineer Anthony Chow said the audience would get to see robots performing on that day, the first of its kind in the world.
He added that the stage was configured in such a way that the audience could get “close” to the artistes.
Low Taek Jho, aka Jho Low, sponsoring those artists and the 1Malaysia Penang International Charity Drive event?? Hmm but he denied it.
What’s the purpose of this 1Malaysia Penang International Charity Drive? Where will be the fund channel to? Or rather will the donation enough to cover the event or who will be paying for the total expenses?
Are you going for the 1Malaysia Penang International Charity Drive? Update me!
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has launched his Ah Jib Gor Fan Club to feel the pulse of the people, especially the Chinese community in the country. “Ah Jib Gor”, which means “Brother Najib” in Chinese, was created to give Najib another forum to get social media users to know him as a person — an ordinary member of society and not straight-jacket as prime minister.
KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has launched his Ah Jib Gor Fan Club to feel the pulse of the people, especially the Chinese community in the country.
The Prime Minister launched the club at the Putra World Trade Centre here via tele-conferencing with students and staff of SM Yu Yuen in Sandakan, Sabah, yesterday.
During the session, Najib interacted through “Facebook chatting” with school senior assistant Hong Lean Hwa and Form Five student Esther Yap Yuk Lim.
Hong thanked the Prime Minister for the RM1mil allocation to the school during Najib’s visit there on April 20.
“I hope the allocation would help enhance the achievement of the students in Yu Yuen,” Najib replied.
Asked by Yap about his favourite Chinese food, the Prime Minister picked steamed fish with soy sauce and sweet and sour chilli crab. On his hobbies, he said they were reading books and fitness exercises.
Yap also wanted to know what Najib’s first job was after completing his studies in Britain.
Najib said he joined the Economic Planning Unit as a junior officer before joining Bank Negara.
When interacting with the school, Najib commended students on the setting up of his fan club in Sandakan.
He said it was a testimony of the people, including the people of Sabah, in their confidence of the 1Malaysia concept as the transformation agenda of the country.
“Thank you for your confidence and support. I believe we can use this line of communication to exchange ideas and make comments from time to time.
“I feel this is a positive development that will create not only good communication but also interpersonal relationship between all of you and the government,” he said.
“We believe we are a strong government that can lead the country towards fulfilling the vision of becoming a developed nation. Malaysians are our responsibility and we must strive to promote harmony and stability among the various ethnics in Malaysia,” he added. — Bernama
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launched the Ah Jib Gor Fan Club to feel the pulse of the people, especially the Chinese community in the country.
Najib launched the club at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) via tele-conferencing with club members from Sekolah Menengah Yu Yuen, Sandakan, Sabah.
The Prime Minister when interacting said the setting up of the club in Sandakan was a testimony that the people in the country, including the people of Sabah, are confident with the 1Malaysia concept and the transformation agenda of the country.
He said the club can become a bridge for communication between him (Najib) and the people in Sabah to understand the feelings and expectation of the people towards the government.
“Thank you for your confidence and support.. I believe we can use this line of communication to exchange ideas and to make comments from time to time.
“I feel this is a very positive development because this will create not only good communication but also interpersonal relationship between all of you and the governor,” he said here today.
Najib said he hoped the trust of the people towards the government would continue with the commitment of the government to establish transformation as the main agenda of the country.
“We believe we are a strong government that can lead the country towards fulfilling the vision of becoming a developed nation.
Malaysians are our responsibility and we must strive to promote harmony and stability among the various ethnics in Malaysia,” he said.
Najib said 1Malaysia was not just a slogan but rather an overarching philosophy to the principle of the nation, including policies and transformation agendas.
“1Malaysia is about forming, unity and harmony…it is based on fairness, inclusive and moderation..all that are part and parcel of the 1Malaysia philosophy.
“1Malaysia will be our overarching philosophy and with your support this nation will transform to be the first red nation and a nation that we can all be proud of,” he said.katanya.
During the tele-conferencing, the Prime Minister interacted through ‘Facebook chatting’ with the school’s senior assistant Hong Lean Hwa and Form Five student Esther Yap Yuk Lim.
Hong thanked the Prime Minister for the RM1 million allocation to the school during his visit on April 20, to which Najib replied that he hoped the allocation would help enhance the achievement of the students in Sekolah Yu Yuan.
Najib who was asked by Yap about his favourite Chinese food said steamed fish with soy sauce, sweet and sour chilly crab were his favourite dishes while his hobby was reading books and exercise.
To another question posed by Yap who wanted to know what was his (Najib) first job after completing his studies in the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister said he joined the Economic Planning Unit as a junior officer before joining Bank Negara. — BERNAMA
1Malaysia Pad / 1Mpad / 1Pad Specs:
-1Malaysia Pad / 1Mpad
-Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
-WiFi & 3G Connectivity
-1MM app which offers free messaging between WhatsApp and Blackberry Messenger
-32GB microSD storage
-3MP camera (rear)
-0.3MP camera (front)
Seriously, you say it’s affordable? Only add a little and you could get yourself better specs and better tablet from big brand like Apple’s iPad or other Android’s tablet from Samsung or Acer? If you price it at RM199 I would get 1 for sure!~
Pre Order Now at email@example.com
Nationawide Agents Wanted, for inquiry, email firstname.lastname@example.org
So if you think it’s worth then faster do the preorder and it’s only limited 999 units for RM999. So after 999 units how much will it be? Crazyness!
1Malaysia Pad joins country’s lucrative tablet market
PUTRAJAYA: A new player has come into the country’s lucrative tablet market — the 1Malaysia Pad.
The 7-inch pad, using the Android Gingerbread operating system, was developed by MalTechPro Sdn Bhd.
It was officially unveiled at a soft launch yesterday, promising affordable mobile connectivity on a device which the developers claim was on par with those currently available in the market.
Being a new kid on the block, MalTechPro executive chairman Datuk Sohaimi Shahadan did not rule out the difficulty in breaking through the highly-competitive tablet market, but he is optimistic their business model would give them an edge over the rest.
Model Anisa Abdullah showing off the 1Malaysia Pad, which was unveiled during a soft launch. The developers promise affordable connectivity on the device which they say is on par with those now on the market. The tablet, with a 7-inch screen, will be officially launched next month. — Bernama.
It was reported earlier this month that Malaysia is the largest tablet market in South-East Asia, racking up sales worth US$374mil (RM1.18bil) last year.
Sohaimi said that unlike other tablet makers which only sell hardware, MalTechPro has the advantage of an in-house team that could tailor the tablet to match the business and communication needs of companies and corporations.
“We are an apps (applications) developer, and the 1Malaysia Pad can be customised according to the needs of the client.
“Let’s say a company wants 500 units. We can customise the apps to do whatever they need, and these apps will be exclusive to that particular company,” Sohaimi said after the soft launch by Domestic Trade, Consumer Affairs and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob here.
The tablet also comes with a clutch of built-in applications, the most notable being the 1Malaysia Messenger or 1MM app, which offers free messaging between users akin to popular applications such as WhatsApp and Blackberry Messenger.
Sohaimi said the 1Malaysia Pad will be in the market next month after its official launch by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, at an introductory price of RM999 for the first 5,000 units.
The tablet comes with two cameras – 3.0 megapixel device at the back and a 0.3 megapixel in the front – WiFi and 3G data capabilities, a Li-Polymer 4000mAH battery and a 32GB micro SD memory card.
1Mpad is Malaysia’s first branded tablet, delivers 7 inches of Gingerbread for $315
So you’ve decided that it’s time to make a tablet part of your life, but a lack of star-spangled slabs has prompted you to defer the purchase. Malaysians now face no such dilemma, due in no small part to the 1Malasyia Pad — the country’s first branded tab. The 1Mpad will reportedly soon be marketed to students (1.4 million of them, in fact), but 5,000 of the 7-inch Gingerbread devices are now being offered up to deep-pocketed locals, priced online at a rather-ambitious 999 Malaysian ringgits (about $315). Manufactured by MalTechPro Sdn Bhd, the 1Mpad will be offered to students at a to-be-determined discounted rate, making it the first such device to be available using a student discount card. At its current high list price, the tablet doesn’t appear to be a fantastic deal, shipping with 3G broadband and the 1Malaysia Messenger application, which will serve as an IM service of sorts for sending text, pictures, video and voice recording to other 1Mpad owners. Still, if you have the cash to spare for an early taste of what Malaysian students may some day be using to surf the web, you can hit up the source link after the break for a bit more info.
PUTRAJAYA, 24 Mei — MalTechPro Sdn Bhd hari ini memperkenalkan tablet pertama buatan Malaysia dikenali “1 Malaysia Pad” yang dilengkapi aplikasi terkini dan skrin sesentuh.
Mensasarkan jualan awal sebanyak 5,000 unit dengan harga pengenalan RM999, tablet selebar 7 inci itu juga dilengkapi dengan kemudahan 1 Malaysia Messenger.
Pengerusi Eksekutifnya Datuk Sohaimi Shahadan berkata menerusi kemudahan itu, pemilik tablet yang sama boleh berhubung secara percuma dengan pesanan ringkas, menghantar gambar, rakaman video dan rakaman suara.
“Tablet itu dicipta degan pelbagai aplikasi tambahan yang mesra pengguna dan bercirikan identiti Malaysia di samping aplikasi sama yang terdapat pada tablet jenama lain,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas majlis prapelancaran di sini.
Majlis itu disempurnakan Menteri Perdagangan Dalam Negeri, Koperasi dan Kepenggunaan Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Sohaimi berkata tablet yang menggunakan sistem android itu juga dilengkapi dengan sambungan jalur lebar tanpa wayar dan 3G.
“Syarikat kami juga bersedia untuk mengubah suai aplikasi itu mengikut kehendak pengguna yang ingin membeli dengan jumlah besar untuk kegunaan jabatan atau agensi masing-masing,” katanya.
Selain itu katanya, pelajar institusi pengajian tinggi yang mempunyai kad diskaun siswa boleh membeli tablet tersebut dengan diskaun istimewa.
Mereka yang berminat boleh menempah secara dalam talian di laman web (maltechpro.com) atau mengunjungi ejen jualan yang terdapat di seluruh negara. — Bernama
I saw this news and went to a mamak that bearing the logo of 1Malaysia and thinking to try my luck for the 1Malaysia People’s Menu which only cost RM3 for the rice with chicken + drinks but my total bill is RM6.80 for that.
My other friend’s lunch. Look at the price, even just 1 portion of Timun + 1 portion of Fried Potato is already RM3.50 and it’s without drink!
Where can you get 1Malaysia People’s Menu for RM3.00, you can get rice, taugeh, chicken wings, beef or mutton? I have yet to try out from the real mamak that serve the 1Malaysia People’s Menu, have you tried any? Can you tell me if you find this 1Malaysia Restaurant and let me know! =)
74. The Government will undertake measures to ease rising costs and prices as well as reduce the burden of the rakyat, as follows:
First: Increase the number of Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) nationwide in 2012. KR1M offers 250 types of 1Malaysia products, comprising consumer goods which are up to 40% cheaper. In view of the overwhelming response, the Government plans to open an additional 85 units in 2012 with an allocation of RM40 million;
Third: Extend and promote the Menu Rakyat 1Malaysia which offers popular menu sets at reasonable prices with a maximum of RM2 for breakfast and RM4 for lunch. Currently, more than 700 food operators are participating and this will be extended to 3,000 operators by end-2012. To further expand this initiative, the Government encourages all cafeteria operators in Government offices* and the private sector to implement the Menu Rakyat 1Malaysia.
KUALA LUMPUR: The campaign for the 1Malaysia People’s Menu has received overwhelming response from restaurants.
According to the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry, there were now 1,004 restaurants taking part in the programme as at Oct 14.
“We were supposed to achieve the target of 1,000 restaurants by December, but we achieved it three months earlier,” he told a press conference after a lunch with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at Restoran Ukhwah in Lorong Medan Tuanku yesterday.
“The Prime Minister came just to eat. He wanted to taste the food eaten by ordinary folk. He also wanted to find out whether the lunch menu served at RM4 and breakfast at RM2 under the programme were really of quality,” he added.
Paying less for more: Najib smiling as he pays for his meal at Restoran Ukhwah in Lorong Medan Tuanku, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday.
Ismail Sabri said Najib’s lunch experience at the restaurant also proved wrong the perception of some quarters that cheap food at the eateries were of low quality.
He added that in the peninsula, the restaurants could offer breakfast at a maximum of RM2 and lunch at RM4. In Sabah and Sarawak, it’s RM2.50 for breakfast and RM5 for lunch.
Ismail Sabri urged more restaurant operators to take part in the programme and offer food at affordable prices while helping people reduce their financial burden.
Restoran Ukhwah serves a RM1 breakfast menu that includes teh tarik, roti canai and a piece of kuih while the RM3 lunch menu includes a plate of rice with meat and one vegetable dish and a syrup drink.
Asked how the restaurant could maintain its profit at such rates, Ukhwah Cooperatives president Datuk Rahim Baba said they carried out volume selling while offering other menus at regular prices.
Regular customer Ramlee Salleh, 76, said he ate at the restaurant with his wife Zaleha Salleh, 63, and grandson daily to reduce their financial burden.
Ramlee, who has two wives, said he earns RM700 a month as a petition writer and gets a RM400 pension.
“But it is still not enough for us and I sometimes just eat bread,” he added.
Najib gives thumbs-up to restaurant’s 1Malaysia People’s Menu
KUALA LUMPUR — Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today praised the taste and quality of the food served at a restaurant participating in the 1Malaysia People’s Menu programme.
The prime minister expressed his satisfaction after spending almost half an hour, enjoying lunch of rice with ayam masak merah, ayam masak kicap, daging goreng, fried taugeh and papadom at Restoran Ukhwah in Lorong Medan Tuanku, here.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who accompanied Najib, said: “The prime minister came just to eat….he wanted to taste the food eaten by ordinary folk.
“He also wanted to find out whether the lunch menu served at RM4 and breakfast at RM2 under the programme were really of quality.”
He said Najib’s lunch experience at the restaurant also proved wrong the perception of some quarters that cheap food at eateries participating in the programme were of low quality.
“The ministry is always monitoring for the quality of food served…the prime minister praised the food served just now, which he said was delicious and of quality.
“I think the prime minister was very happy to taste what the ordinary people eat on a daily basis and it also shows his concern for the people’s welfare,” Ismail Sabri said.
The 1Malaysia People’s Menu programme was launched on July 7, aimed at lessening the people’s daily expenses while enabling them to enjoy breakfast at the ceiling price of RM2 and lunch at the maximum of RM4.
Ismail Sabri said the programme had received encouraging response with the target of 1,000 restaurants by the year-end achieved earlier when 1,004 participated in the programme nationwide.
Of the total, Perak has recorded the highest number with 152, followed by Selangor (137), Terengganu (123), Kedah (104), Pahang (103), Sarawak (64), Penang (61), Johor and Sabah (52), Kuala Lumpur (46), Kelantan (41), Negeri Sembilan (34), Melaka (18), Perlis (12), Labuan (3) and Putrajaya (2).
Ismail Sabri said for public convenience, the ministry would advertise the list of the participating eateries in the newspapers tomorrow.
He hoped more eateries would participate in the programme but the condition is that they must served balanced meals. — Bernama
RM50Mil project investment on 1Malaysia email which will be providing 1Malaysia e-mail account to every Malaysian aged 18 and above.
RMRM1.4 project investment on 1Pengguna.com which allows the consumers to compare the prices of goods sold at over 1,255 retail outlets nationwide.
Cuti-cuti 1 Malaysia Facebook Pages
Now RM1.8Mil spent on Cuti-cuti 1 Malaysia Facebook Pages which every Tom, Dick or Harry can create it for FREE? I also have my own Saimatkong 驶么讲 Facebook Page, now you can go and like mine! =p
One of my main concern is spending such amount of money on Facebook which is very much depending on the 3rd party and what if the Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, close down Facebook or change Facebook to some subscription with a minimum amount of charge, then I would say all the money is like throwing into the sea? Am I right? =)
“Expenses for advertisements there are not included in the RM1.8mil budget, which is solely for the social media campaign.” – This is too good to be truth. Then I really hope I can be one of the people that handling the social media campaign!
One of the application / games in the budget of RM1.8Mil?
Actually the idea of this is good but don’t you think RM1.8mil is just too much and having competition with prizes of Free iPad 2 is good and maybe should run more competition or contest related to tourism and giving out some tour package to our own Local Attractions would be good as some of us will not been to those places! Keep it up!
If you need any talent to handle the Social Media can hire me and I would make sure the budget is wisely spend and the citizen would really benefited from these campaign that I could kick-start! I really have a lot ideas in my mind but just no money to execute it! =)
Tourism Ministry Utilises Social Website To Promote Domestic Tourism
KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 (Bernama) — The Tourism Ministry has utilised the social website Facebook to promote domestic tourism among IT-literate Malaysians, especially the youngsters, said its Deputy Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit.
He said the ministry had developed six Facebook applications for Tourism Malaysia which cost a total of RM1,758,432 with each page costing RM293,072.
“The pages include product promotions, tourism destinations and activities such as ‘Cuti Cuti 1Malaysia’, Citrawarna 1Malaysia, 1Malaysia Mega Sales Carnival, Year End Sales Carnival and Fabulous Food 1Malaysia,” he said in reply to a question from Loke Siew Fook (DAP-Rasah) who had asked on the justification for the expenditure at the Dewan Rakyat today.
Dawos added that an advertising company, Impact Creations Sdn Bhd, was responsible for all advertisements and events of the ministry and Tourism Malaysia or the domestic market for 2011 until 2013.
However, the RM1.8 million expenditure was questioned by several members of Parliament who claimed that it was a waste.
Loke said it was irrelevant as the social website could be accessed free of charge while Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) asked whether the ministry had set any key performance indicators to monitor the advertising agency’s performance.
KUALA LUMPUR: The RM1.8mil budget is for an overall social media advertising campaign and not just for Facebook, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
She said the entire campaign was aimed at creating and developing six tourism events, including Citrawarna 1Malaysia, 1Malaysia Malaysia Mega Sale/Malaysia Year-End Sale, Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia and Fabulous Food 1Malaysia.
Dr Ng said the budget for Impact Creations (M) Sdn Bhd, which had secured a RM30mil ceiling contract for the domestic tourism advertising campaign via open tender, included expenses for digital advertising on Google, Facebook and other websites and to run, manage and monitor responses.
“We also need to spend on the collection of data and evaluation of the campaign. All these need to be done by professionals and technical experts,” she said here yesterday.
She said Impact Creations would also coordinate the campaign with other promotional activities in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and billboards.
“Expenses for advertisements there are not included in the RM1.8mil budget, which is solely for the social media campaign.
“This part of the expenses will be funded by the remaining allocation under the RM30mil contract,” she said, adding that the Facebook page for the six events had attracted 24,000 fans within a month of its launch and expected to reach 120,000 by December.
She also denied the accusation that the RM1.8mil had been spent to set up Facebook pages for the six events.
“Everybody knows it can be done (setting up a Facebook page) for free. It costs us nothing because we do not spend a single sen on it,” she said.
On Tuesday, Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit told Parliament that it spent close to RM1.8mil to develop its Facebook page to promote its domestic tourism market and activities from this year until 2013.
Dr Ng had since said this was a small sum, as compared to the Philippines which spent RM7mil while Australia had set aside RM485mil over the next three years.
Dr Ng accused DAP’s Rasah MP Anthony Loke, who questioned the expenditure, of making an issue out of the reply by “twisting the facts”.
Public outrage over Tourism Ministry’s RM1.8m splurge
PETALING JAYA: THE Tourism Ministry has spent a whopping RM1,758,432 on developing six Facebook pages to promote Malaysian tourism. In an online news portal yesterday, Tourism Deputy Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit was quoted as saying the Facebook pages — Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia, Citrawarna 1Malaysia, Karnival Jualan Mega 1Malaysia, Festival Pelancongan Seni Kontemporari 1Malaysia, Kempen 1Malaysia Bersih and Fabulous Food 1Malaysia — costing RM293,072 each.
Mamit reportedly gave these figures in Parliament yesterday.
But website developers and members of the public say the move was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Creative director Joey Khor, 33, who has seven years experience in developing websites, told The Malay Mail spending such an amount for setting up Facebook pages was simply not justifiable.
“Every website acts like a house and one have to ‘drive traffic’ to their ‘houses’ to promote it. Generally, the bulk of the money spent for websites is usually to attract traffic to it and Facebook pages are a form of an online marketing option.
“However, spending RM1.8 million on such a purpose is not justifiable.”
Khor opined he could easily set up a digital agency and run the websites of five different companies for a year with RM1.8 million. “With almost RM300,000 spent for each page, I can create two iPhone applications.”
Instead of setting up Facebook pages to promote Malaysian tourism, Khor said the ministry could have engaged in other online marketing strategies such as partnering with Google for promotional activities.
A website developer, who wished to remain anonymous, said a general website requires RM50,000 to RM200,000 to be set up, depending on its complexity.
“RM50,000 to RM80,000 is considered sufficient enough to develop each of the ministry’s Facebook pages.
The 32-year-old said even international brands usually spend about RM1 million for their websites.
“My most expensive project was to develop a website for a company that needed me to create a template which could be adapted across all countries. The website development cost the company RM1.2 million.
“Compared to the Tourism Ministry’s Facebook pages, the project I worked on was on a much higher scale. So, how could the ministry had spent more than us?”
Copy writer John Royce, from Petaling Jaya said the ministry either had extremely poor judgement when it comes to selecting its contractors for website development or they were not being completely honest with the public.
“Having worked in a digital marketing agency before, I think it’s ridiculous to spend about RM300,000 for a Facebook page. In fact, you can get a full corporate website with all the bells and whistles, plus social media accounts created and managed for you for RM300,000.
“What’s even more outrageous is that the government claim it can no longer afford to subsidise fuel. And yet here they are squandering taxpayers’ money,” said the 30-year-old.
Samantha Doray, 33, an architect said: “I opened the Facebook pages to find out if there was really anything worth RM1.8 million on them. The comments by the other users aptly describe my sentiments too. The ministry’s idiocy is out there in the open for everyone to see.”
Public relations officer Sasha Sundaran said there should be an inquiry done on how the ministry managed and spent the money.
“Malaysians need to know where their money is going.”
Tourism Minister defends RM1.8 million Facebook promo
Facebook is free, but it’s Tourism Malaysia’s social media advertising campaign that costs RM1.8mil, says minister
JUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON: The world is going digital and if you’re not in social media, you’re outdated, says Ng
TOURISM Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen was supposed to be seething in anger with reports insinuating the ministry spent RM1.8 million on six Facebook pages.
The Malay Mail senior writer Marhalim Abas braved the traffic and a possible tongue lashing to find out what was really going on.
Q: What is the real story behind the RM1.8 million?
A: The ministry’s efforts to embark on a digital promotional campaign and branding via the social media was heavily twisted by Loke (DAP MP Anthony Loke) and caused confusion among Facebook fans and the media. He said the ministry spent RM1.8 million to create six Facebook pages. It was reported in the Chinese Press with, which I see, an intent to mislead the public.
Q: What was the money used for then?
A: Firstly, it was not used to develop the Facebook pages; you and I know those are free. Even I started my DrYenYen page on Facebook for free. Of course it’s stupid (to spend that amount) since it costs nothing to set up a page. Some media correctly reported the sum was for a social media advertising campaign.
Secondly, the sum was used to create and develop the campaign and branding of six major tourism events — Citrawarna; 1Malaysia Mega Sale and Year End Sale; Night Festival; Fabulous Food 1Malaysia; 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism and 1Malaysia Green; and Clean Campaign. The campaign involves content. Promoting and branding a campaign need back servers. You also need to manage the campaign and monitor the response.
Thirdly, data collection and data monitoring. Fourth, campaign evaluation. We don’t have experts in Tourism Malaysia. It’s okay if it’s just your personal Facebook page but this is a global brand, a national advertising campaign.
Q: Who is running the campaign?
A: Our advertising agency. They have been entrusted with domestic tourism promotion. They used to do TV, radio, billboards and print campaigns, and now social media. See what it says? (while holding up a Press clipping) Tourism Malaysia spends RM1.8 million on Facebook. Of course everyone wants an explanation! The Deputy Minister (Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit) was clear but he (Loke) skipped so many (details) and said even children know Facebook is free.
He purposely distracted people from the real issue. I’m happy to report the Citrawarna page has garnered 24,000 fans in less than a month. We are aiming for at least 120,000 fans within six months for the entire campaign.
One newspapers interviewed many people who talked about how much it costs to develop a website. I’m not talking because this is not a website.
Q: You said the papers got the wrong Facebook page. Can you show us the right one?
A: People think a social media campaign is simple. I deny the attempt by DAP, especially Loke. Of course, when people see his statement, they say it’s stupid as Facebook is free. You see the confusion created by DAP? This is a national tourism campaign which forms the RM56 billion national economy.
This is not our website, this is an open country (while holding up another Press clipping). Ours is here, Tourism Malaysia Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia (shows the web page on her iPad). Whoever did the interviews was barking up the wrong tree. You should interview the social media advertising agency.
Q: Why advertise in social media?
A: The world is going digital. The cost of digital advertising is going up because everybody is using social media. Total advertising in social media last year was RM12.7 billion. If you’re not in the social media, you are outdated. We need to attract new types of tourists, the so-called Foreign Individual Tourist or FIT. They go on packages. They check AirAsia (website) and pack their bags. Or they go on Facebook. Facebook has 700 million fans, 10 million of whom are Malaysian, so we have to go to social media and its advertising is not free.
Do you know why Google and and Facebook are so rich? Because you and I are all their fans. Tourism Malaysia’s social media campaign must be top class. We cannot be mediocre. How can Loke talk about Penang Tourism ‘not having to pay anything’? Theirs is only a Facebook page! No campaign, no applications, contest or advertising. It’s like a personal page. In two years, Penang Tourism gained 120,000 fans. Loke is either clueless or wants to distract (the attention) from my social media campaign, which is something the country needs.
Q: Are other countries promoting their tourism via social media?
A: Australia’s tourism authority announced they are going to spent RM150 million annually for three years on social media advertising, promotion and marketing. Queensland is spending RM5 million this year for social media while the Philippines is spending RM7 million. Thailand’s tourism authority is increasing its budget for social media by 40 per cent. There is a clear shift towards social media. That’s why we went that way.
Q: Why is Impact Creations Sdn Bhd handling the social media advertising campaign?
A: Because it is my advertising agency in change of domestic tourism promotion. They manage everything so they can co-ordinate and collaborate their campaigns on TV, radio, billboards and electronics. We asked them to start on the social media campaign. We launched the Facebook page on May 18.
I read someone claimed she went to the page and found nothing much there. Of course, this is a six-month campaign. Another said he did not see RM1.8 million on the page. What about my advertising on Google and Facebook? Social media is not cheap. The Opposition is clever. Take one part and blow it open. I must state I consider the statements (by Loke) an attempt to mislead and discredit Tourism Malaysia.
Q: Where can we see the advertisements?
A: Its on CNN. Have you seen the Malaysia Truly Asia campaign? Our first advertisement on the social media campaign is on Citrawarna, on our Facebook Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia. The advertisements are related to my events.
Q: Why is Impact Creations involved in the social media campaign?
A: As I said before, Impact Creations is the domestic tourism promotion. The tourism promotion is divided into different countries. China and East Asia are under Mascom and Oceania (under) Saatchi. These companies won the tender that created a lot of brouhaha before. They all got an annual RM30 million contract for three years and RM30 million is the ceiling, they cannot go higher.
Q: It was alleged they were given the tender because they are your friends.
A: People can say what they want. I have been a politician for 45 years, everyone is my friend. The owner of Mascom is my friend. M&C Saatchi’s Datin Sharifah (Datin Sharifah Menjelara Hussein) is my friend. You are also my friend. The agencies won in an open tender.
I did not seat in the tender decision committee. I have been accused without justification. The tender board chose these companies for financial and technical reasons. I have answered the allegations clearly in The Star (newspaper) and I answered to Parliament clearly as well.
Impact Creations have the right to outsource or in-source.
After seeing the comments in Facebook, it was important for me to clear everyone’s minds. When we have social media campaigns, even my son who is overseas can see what’s going on.
Q: Besides Facebook, what other social media are you working with?
A: Mostly Facebook because it’s interactive and visual. Twitter is mostly text. It is now important to go to social media for tourism campaign. Print is losing out.
Q: Because print is seen as boring?
A: Yes, sorry. But the most positive and negative reactions are from you.
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Free 1Malaysia Email that need RM50mil investment? Wow that’s such a big amount of money that could be invested into something more useful to the Malaysian rather than giving email which we could easily singup from Gmail or Hotmail with plenty of storage?
The question everyone asking is, why do we need this when any service providers will give you a free e-mail account. Isn’t it true?
I really agree with Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng to give free WIFI instead of Free Email which is not really benefit to the citizen.
CM Lim said, ‘Give free wi-fi, not free email. What’s the point of free email when we can get them from Yahoo, Google and Hotmail?’ He also expressed his concerns regarding privacy issues.
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians aged 18 and above will be assigned an e-mail account each to receive statements, bills and notices from the Government.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who announced this yesterday, said the 1MY E-mail initiative would allow “direct and secure” communication between citizens and the Government while enhancing the delivery of government services to consumers and businesses alike.
Tricubes Bhd is collaborating with Microsoft to develop the 1Malaysia E-mail project.
The company will spearhead the private RM50mil investment that also includes the development of a web portal as a one-stop centre for government services providing value-added services such as social networking, checking of bills online and payments.
Tricubes chief executive officer Khairun Zainal Mokhtar said the company was still conducting stress tests for the website.
“Hopefully, we can get it ready by July,” he told a press conference at the fifth progress update of the Economic Transformation Programme here yesterday.
Khairun said the portal was different from the MyEG website, which focused on the payment of bills and summonses, as it would allow interaction between people and the Government.
The Performance Management and Delivery Unit, responding to queries said the 1Malaysia E-mail would not be made compulsory.
KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — Tricubes Berhad has launched the myemail.my “Citizen Inbox” service with registration to begin at the end of April despite a furore whether the RM50 million project is necessary for citizens to communicate with the government.
The government has already stated the service is voluntary and no public funds will be used to finance the project.
Tricubes is using Microsoft Corp’s Windows Live platform for the email service, which will offer 25GB of mailbox space. The service will also allow users to create documents using Microsoft Office products, which is the most widely used office suite software worldwide.
Windows Live is the collective brand name for a set of services and software products from Microsoft, part of their software plus services platform.
The features offered by Tricubes are already available in Microsoft’s free Hotmail service.
The government has stressed that it is not funding the private-sector initiative despite inviting bids for the project last November.
However, project developer, Tricubes, is in danger of being delisted from the stock exchange for financial irregularities.
The website domain was registered by Tricubes on March 10, 2011 for a year.
“Myemail is an email messaging service open to all Malaysians. If you are a citizen, then you are entitled to a myemail account. Registration is simple and approval is within 24 hours.
“With a myemail account, you can get the latest news or even events by the government directly to your inbox. Be the first to know of new government initiatives, services or policies,” the website added.
As of 5pm, the hashtags #1malaysiaemail and #Tricubes are still among the top ten Malaysian topics on microblogging site Twitter, where Malaysians have ridiculed the email plan since it was announced yesterday.
The 1 Malaysia email project is not the first free email project in the country. WauMail was officially launched on July 12, 1999 and was available in four languages — Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil.
WauMail was a joint-venture between Technology Park Malaysia and Intelliweb Sdn Bhd. Its website was hacked in 2001 when it had some 600,000 users. It was later turned into a paid email service in 2002. At present, it no longer exists as an email service.
I remember that I have discussed with my ex-colleague about 1Malaysia.com and we came out with a funny yet captive name that’s 1Manusia.com which we think it’s greater? Now, I’m giving you free @1Manusia.com email for FREE too!
If you want to get this free email account, you just have to follow me in my twitter and Facebook. Then just leave me a message and your email address will be created right away! Of coz this is done out of good will and can’t compared to the Free 25GB provided by myemail.my, so don’t overload the free email service that I provide k! =)
Did you receive an email of Chinese New Year greeting from our Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak? It’s so sweet of him sending us CNY greetings and it’s personal touch.
I did receive the greeting email and a lot of ppl did reply to my tweet that they do receive this email too. I’m wondering from where our PM got our email address and it’s stated that it’s from 1Malaysia.com.my and various sources.
I didn’t subscribe to 1Malaysia.com and it makes me wonder where are the various sources that were referred to? Hmm…
Saya ingin mengucapkan Selamat Menyambut Tahun Baru Cina buat seluruh rakyat Malaysia, khususnya bagi mereka yang akan menyambut perayaan yang penuh dengan kemeriahan ini.
Setiap kali tibanya perayaan ini, saya masih terbayang kemeriahan dan keceriaan yang saya lalui semasa kecil. Sudah pasti saya tidak akan ketinggalan mengikut ibu bapa saya menziarahi rakan-rakan beliau yang berketurunan Cina. Makanan kegemaran semasa musim perayaan ini semestinya kuih kapit, kuih bangkit, tat nanas, kerepek “ngaku” manakala limau Mandarin sering menjadi pilihan utama. Teringat juga, sewaktu kecil adakalanya saya dihampiri oleh rakan-rakan ibu bapa yang menghulurkan angpow. Tetapi sekarang, suasana sudah berbeza. Hidangan sudah berubah, pelbagai juadah seperti sate, ais kacang, mi rebus dan maruku juga disediakan.
Semoga di Tahun Arnab ini, kita akan sentiasa berada dalam suasana penuh kemakmuran, kebahagiaan dan juga dianugerahkan kesihatan yang sempurna.
Selamat Tahun Baru Cina, Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Najib Razak & Keluarga
Happy Chinese New Year to all Malaysians who celebrate this auspicious event.
Each year as the season draws near I am reminded of the excitement and merriment I experienced as a child during Chinese New Year. Mum and dad would visit our Chinese friends, and I would always tag along. I always look forward to savouring the many delicacies, favorites being kuih kapit, kuih bangkit, pineapple tarts and “ngaku” crackers, with Mandarin oranges always on top of the list. A wide smile would cross my face when I received “angpows” from my parents’ friends. Today, the celebrations have grown to include sate, ais kacang, mi rebus and maruku even!
May the Year of the Rabbit bring blessings of much happiness, good health and prosperity always. With new beginnings comes new opportunities and as we usher in the Lunar New Year, it is my sincere hope that you achieve success and satisfaction in all your undertakings. Your accomplishments are reflective of our nation’s triumphs, and may we always excel beyond expectations!
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Najib Razak & Family
I even get the SMS greetings from our Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak. It’s not 1 SMS, it’s not 2 SMS but it’s 3 SMS of the same content? If let say 1million people receive 3 SMS then it might cost around RM0.05*1million*3SMS = RM150,000.00 to blast the SMS CNY greetings? Hmm… that’s my simple random calculation only…
On the other hand, I appreciate the email and sms greetings blast! Happy Chinese New Year to everyone and wishes you have a great year ahead! Gong Xi Fatt Chai! Hoot ah!!! 恭喜发财!!
PETALING JAYA: Many of the 1.5 million people who received the Prime Minister’s Chinese New Year greeting via e-mail were delighted over his message.
“The Prime Minister has a very noble intention to get closer to all of us. We receive it (his message) with an open heart and full of smiles,” said Noor Amy Ismail on Twitter about the e-mail which was circulated since Saturday.
Blogger Aizuddin Danian said the e-mail highlighted the personal side of the Prime Minister.
“It makes a point to mention that he had no problems visiting the homes of his Chinese friends,” Aizuddin wrote.
Junior video editor Alistair Tham, 22, also expressed delight at being one of those who had received the e-mail.
“People may think it’s a spam but I think it’s not a bad way to approach the people,” said Tham.
The personal initiative by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, which is a first by any Prime Minister, was particularly targeted at reaching youths aged between 20 and 34 years old.
The e-mail was sent from various database sources, especially to those who have registered at the Prime Minister’s personal website www.1malaysia.com.my.
In the greeting, Najib also briefly reminisced on his excitement as a child as the festival approached.
Was there last Sunday to catch Malaysian Grand Prix (GP) @ Sepang but the traffic was bad and the worst part is to find parking as I do no have the official parking sticker. I was shocked to see so many traffic police all around Sepang International Circuit, is like every corner there’s sure a few policemen there. If anything happened to KL or PJ there will be no policemen as all the police already station at Sepang?
I didn’t have a chance to watch this race but my bro went as was not able to find a parking and he could take the skybus back directly to 1Utama, that’s great. Wasted my 2hrs jam ended up with nothing.
Grandstand ticket prices went for between RM500 and RM2,650 and the cheapest ticket was RM100 for the hillstands. So expensive the tickets and yet so many ppl there! There’s plan of reducing the grand prix ticket next year though. These photo were taken by my bro.
1Malaysia Lotus Team
Jarno Trulli – Italian (17th place)
Heikki Kovalainen – Finnish (did not finish the race)
1Malaysia Lotus Team Sponsor : Tune Group (AirAsia), Maxis, Jazz, Naza, Proton, Bridgestone
Lotus Racing Team Official Website : lotusracing.my
What’s your view on this 1Malaysia F1 Team to join in 2010 championship? I feel like it’s a waste of money $ instead of promoting Malaysia. Can our own F1 team even finish the race or dropped out halfway? How long can we survive and sustain in this F1? Or can we actually make profit and benefit out of it? Even Alex Yoong, Malaysia very 1st F1 driver, also cannot survive long in F1 and join A1 instead. How many million or billion gonna spend in this F1 team? hmm…
Malaysia’s own F1 team
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will have its own team in Formula One next year.
A Lotus-powered racing team, to be called the 1Malaysia F1 team, will take on giants like Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes and Renault in the premier motorsports event next year.
The team will join Force India-Mercedes as Asia’s representatives in F1, along with old-timers like Toyota.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has accepted Malaysia’s bid to enter the 2010 and future Formula One World Championships, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced yesterday.
F1 foray: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak receiving a model of the Malaysian F1 car at the Finance Ministry in Putrajaya.
The 1Malaysia F1 team will be a partnership between the Govern-ment and the private sector, including investors led by Datuk Kamarudin Meranun (AirAsia Deputy CEO), Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes (AirAsia CEO) and SM Nasaruddin SM Nasimuddin (Naza Group CEO).
The Malaysian-owned team will also mark the return of Proton-owned Lotus, the prestigious constructors who left F1 in 1994.
Najib, who made the announcement at the Ministry of Finance yesterday, said the team would be based at the Sepang International Circuit, making it the first to be located outside Europe.
“This is where the cars will be designed, manufactured and tested. It will be ‘Made-in-Malaysia, by Malaysians’ and of course, the pit-stops will be run by Malay-sians,” he said.
“This is a meaningful development and I hope that it will further raise our country’s profile on the world stage.”
The team will have a Malaysian technical and pit crew, totalling some 200 people, to be managed by former Renault technical director Mike Gascoyne.
Najib added that the team hoped to announce its two drivers by Oct 31.
“Currently, six local and international drivers have been shortlisted for evaluation,” he said.
“Our F1 team will also have technical experts from outside Malaysia to ensure that we are ready to compete on the world’s most prestigious racing stage.”
Malaysia hosted its first F1 race in 1999 at the Sepang F1 Circuit and Alex Yoong was the first Malaysian to race in the championships in 2001 and 2002 for Minardi.
The Prime Minister had earlier launched the exchange programme between employees from the government and government-linked companies (GLCs) as part of the Government-GLCs Cross-Fertilisation Programme.
He handed letters-of-trust to 47 government and GLC staff taking part in the programme.
EYEBROWS were raised when news broke that Malaysia is participating in the Formula One (F1) race next year via the Lotus F1 team.
The team is a collaboration between the Government and a group of entrepreneurs linked to AirAsia Bhd and the Naza Group, with Proton Holdings Bhd’s British subsidiary, Lotus as the constructor.
Sceptics are many, especially since big names in the auto world such as Honda and BMW have withdrawn their participation from the sport due to the global economic crisis.
BMW Sauber Formula One crew pushing Nick Heidfeld’s race car past stacks of tyres at the Sepang International Circuit during the F1 race in April.
As the United States and countries across Europe and Asia are still trying to revive their economies, why would Malaysia choose this time to join one of the world’s most expensive sports? More importantly, who is forking out the money?
Let’s talk money
F1 is well known for its huge spending. The reported 2008 team budgets ranged from US$45mil to US$445mil (RM158mil to RM1.6bil) for sponsorship, supplier deals, prize money, team owner contributions, tyre provision and supply of customer engines.
In May, the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA), the ruling body of F1, decided to cap the budget for 2010 to £40mil (about RM228mil) in a bid to prevent more teams from dropping out and to encourage the entry of new contenders.
Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, the AirAsia Bhd boss and one of the investors in 1Malaysia F1 Team Sdn Bhd, which owns the Lotus F1 team, told CNN in a recent interview that the budget cap, coupled with the huge F1 following, made it “a good time to join F1”.
His co-investor, as well as partner in AirAsia, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun concurs, calling the venture “a commercially viable one”.
While Lotus F1’s budget remains sketchy for now, Kamarudin reveals that an initial investment of £10mil (RM57mil) has been made to start the construction of the vehicle. “We’re starting mid-way. So we need to be quick to get the approvals for the car,” he says.
While FIA’s capped budget covers team expenditure, it does not include marketing and hospitality, remuneration for test or race drivers, fines or penalties imposed by the FIA, and engine costs, which may come up to few hundred million ringgit more.
It also does not include the setting up of the new headquarters at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC), for which 8,000ha to 12,000ha of land have been allocated.
An SIC official says the two- to three-year development cost for the state-of-the-art facilities for the new HQ could reach millions, or perhaps billions, of ringgit.
The funding of F1 teams is usually supported by sponsorship. Companies form tie-ups with the teams in various capacities for brand-building purposes.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, for example, took up a substantial sponsorship deal for Brawn GP in March this year (Virgin’s involvement, however, ends in November).
Fernandes is not new to such arrangements since his low-fare carrier has a three-year partnership with the AT&T Williams team as its official airline since 2007.
The Lotus F1 team, one suspects, will follow the same marketing trend of searching for potential corporate sponsors. Since its entry is supported by the Government as an opportunity to profile the 1Malaysia theme, government-linked companies are likely to be roped in.
F1 a nationalism symbol?
Talking about country profile, motor racing started out as a country-based competition and eventually evolved into a commercial sport involving independent teams and car manufacturers.
The existing F1 teams do not have specific country identity, with the exception of Force India, which used to be Spyker F1 team before it was sold to a private consortium comprising Indian millionaire Vijay Mallya and successful European e-businessman Michiel Mol in late 2007 for 88 million euros.
Force India’s main sponsor is Kingfisher, the flagship brand of Vijay’s beer and aviation businesses. His conglomerate, the UB Group, has annual sales of over US$4bil and a market capitalisation of US$12bil. Forbes puts Vijay’s net worth at US$1.2bil, one of the richest in India.
The team uses an Indian flag in its logo but the drivers are non-Indians – Adrian Sutil is from Germany and newly promoted driver, Vitantonio Liuzzi, is Italian. The team is solely driven by its private-entity owners and does not involve any Indian government initiative.
Similarly, India’s hosting of the F1 Grand Prix in 2011 is also an initiative driven by individuals. The project owner, JPSK Sports Private Ltd, owned by the Jaypee construction conglomerate, is funding the circuit construction costs.
The Malaysian entry, in contrast, has the Government’s backing, although the idea of Lotus F1 was mooted by both Fernandes and Kamarudin.
“There’s an opportunity to participate (due to the spot vacated by BMW Sauber) and so we went ahead to conceptualise the idea of our own team, roped in SM Nasaruddin SM Nasimuddin (executive chairman and chief executive officer of Naza Group) and Proton, and approached the Prime Minister for his blessing,” explains Kamarudin.
“The concept of 1Malaysia is not limited to people. My view is that it should be extended, to encompass the partnership of the private sector and the Government.”
Separately, Fernandes says the entry is “great for Malaysia” as it will further utilise its “hardware” at SIC while developing “the soft side – drivers, engineers, management”.
But what about risks?
As with any investment, there will be financial risks. In this case, the millions of ringgit that will be spent to set up the F1 team is at stake. Some argue that the huge investments are well worth the money because of the brand recognition gained internationally.
National oil company Petronas claims its annual cost of sponsoring F1 is less than 5% of what it would cost to gain similar exposure. Last year, its exposure via F1 was valued at about RM1bil.
But Petronas’ involvement is different as it does not run an F1 team. It supports BMW Sauber as its lubricant sponsor, and rightly so, since it’s in the oil business.
(It is uncertain if the national oil company’s sponsorship of BMW Sauber will continue since BMW has withdrawn from the team and Sauber does not have a firm entry for next year’s race.)
Aside from financials, there could also be the intangible risks. A poor performance may bring more detrimental publicity than the desired high profile.
Note that Malaysia’s first F1 driver, Alex Yoong, drove for the Australian-owned Minardi F1 team back in 2001 and 2002. Yoong only managed to finish five races out of the 11 in 2002, because of setbacks like engine, hydraulics and gear box problems.
Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne is, nevertheless, confident of Lotus’ future performance. He told the British press recently that Lotus F1 was “a very substantial team.”
Gascoyne has over 20 years’ experience in the sport, having worked with Force India, Toyota, Renault and Jordan Formula One teams.
Still, it remains to be seen how Malaysians would feel, watching with millions of viewers worldwide, when Malaysia’s team finishes weakly, or perhaps not even completing races.
Lotus no newcomer to F1
The association of Lotus and F1 is not foreign. In fact, Lotus was a well-known participant in the glamorous sport in the 1960s. Between 1958 and 1994, the original Lotus team achieved 73 grand prix wins, 102 pole positions, six drivers’ world titles and seven constructors’ crowns from 489 starts, with illustrious names of the calibre of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Sir Stirling Moss, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jochen Rindt, Mario Andretti, Ronnie Peterson, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet and Mika Hakkinen in its roll call of drivers.
Its success track record is mainly linked to founder Colin Chapman, who remained passionate about the sport until his death in 1982. Lotus’ last F1 race was in 1994.
The Lotus company, meanwhile, had been struggling with financial difficulties and had different shareholders trying to revive its finances. Proton has been the major shareholder since 1996, but it has long been rumoured that it wants to divest its stake.
OSK Investment Bank, however, said Proton had no urgency to sell Lotus Cars as the subsidiary had returned to profitability since 2008 with net earnings of £1.5mil.
While the Government’s involvement in the Lotus F1 team is via Proton, analysts do not expect the national car company to offer financial support. Proton’s role in the F1 venture will mainly be as the coordinator for Lotus, says an analyst in a recent report.
After Honda and BMW have quit Formula One, and when the country is facing an economic recession, the government makes an announcement of forming the “One Malaysia F1 team”. It shows the spirit of “Malaysia Boleh” but from the commercial point of view, could such a huge investment bring the country any remuneration?
There are pros and cons to own a F1 team. The pros include enhancing the popularity of the country, Proton, Air Asia, Sepang International Circuit (SIC) and other sponsors, particularly Proton, in the international arena.
In fact, Lotus used to own a remarkable F1 team. It had won the annual championship for seven times since its first entry into the F1 race in 1958. By entering the race, Proton may master the latest technology and overcome the weaknesses of the engine, so as to open up more oversea markets.
“Is it a wise decision to join as even some famous automobile companies are unable to sustain?”
Once Proton gains a good reputation, it can sell a large number of licensed products. At the same time, the Malaysian team’s entry can stimulate F1 ticket sales, reversing SIC’s gloomy operation. Also, the team may share the total prize of US$500 million, as well as the TV rights revenue.
However, the formation of a team costs a lot. First of all, the new team must pay the The International Automobile Federation, commonly known as FIA, an entry bond of US$48 million. Also, Malaysia has to raise funds to build a production, design and technology development centre near the SIC.
Although Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak did not disclose the cost of setting up the team, it is estimated to cost at least US$100 million, including the salaries and business entertainment expenses of the drivers and the captain. For example, after Honda took over the whole racing team in 2006, it had to allocate up to US$500 million for its annual budged.
We are worrying about the Malaysian team’s ranking as the higher the points a team can accumulate, the higher the prize they get. If the Malaysian team is ranked at the bottom, it does not only have failed to gain popularity, but it may harm the brand. With Honda’s technology, it had been suffering a bleak record for eight years and in 2007, the team was ranked number nine with only 14 accumulated points. Meanwhile, BMW decided to quit F1 because of its poor performance this year.
F1 is a “money-burning” sport. Even it does bring certain economic benefits, its return has been reduced under the shadow of the global financial turmoil and the automobile industry downturn. Is it a wise decision to join as even some famous automobile companies are unable to sustain?
Compared to other racing teams, the Malaysian team possesses the advantage of the government’s support. But under the circumstances of deteriorating national budget deficit, would it be a wise investment?
What benefit has the country actually gained after spending US$130 million to build the circuit, hosting F1 races since 1999 and allowing Petronas to sponsor the BMW team for four years? It is better to show the people a clear account. The government should learn a lesson from previous failed investments in order to become a pragmatic investor. (By LIM SUE GOAN/Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/Sin Chew Daily)
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