Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 23rd of March, 2017
Why is the government of Malaysia spending RM15 million to subsidize an event for affluent Malaysians and big corporate organizations organized by a private company?
The Global Transformation Forum 2017, featuring internationally renowned speakers and celebrities such as Sir Richard Branson, Jack Ma and Usain Bolt, is currently taking place at the KL Convention Center from the 22nd to the 23rd of March, 2017. It has a number of corporate sponsors including Tenaga, Hong Leong Bank, YTL, MMC Gamuda, KL Kepong and many others. The cost of entrance for this forum starts at RM4,000 for a basic package (“Club Pass”) and going up to RM10,000 for the most expensive package (“Signature Pass”). As of today, tickets for the Circle Pass (RM6,000) and the Signature Pass (RM10,000) has been sold out and only a limited number of Club Passes (“RM4,000) are left (See Figure 1 below).
Figure 1: Cost and Benefits of the Club Pass, Circle Pass and Signature Pass packages for the Global Transformation Forum 2017
If this was a purely private affair, organized by the private sector for the private sector, it would be no business of mine as a Member of Parliament (MP) to question the costs of organizing such an event. But a similar forum had previously been organized in 2015 at a cost of RM10 million to the taxpayer.
In the parliamentary reply given to me today, the cost to the taxpayer for organizing this event has escalated to RM15 million! (See Appendix 1)
When government funding to our universities and our hospitals are being cut left, right and center, and government subsidies for essentials such as sugar and cooking oil are being cut, why is the government subsidizing an event that will be almost exclusively attended by affluent and well-connected Malaysians? So that the Prime Minister will have more opportunities to take selfies with celebrities? This is a slap in the face of Malaysians who are suffering because of increases in the cost of living and cuts in government expenditure. The organizers of the event should be ashamed of themselves for asking the government for RM15 million to organize this forum for the rich, of the rich and by the rich.
Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang
Appendix 1: Answer to my Parliament Question of the Government Allocation for the Global Transformation Forum 2017