Yen Yen denies overpaying RM270m

The prices paid for the advertisements are never above the market price, says the tourism minister.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Tourism Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen denied today that her ministry had overpaid close to RM270 million worth of advertisements as reported in the 2010 Auditor-General’s (AG) Report, which is a breach of Treasury rules.

“The ministry did not overspend, did not spend more… The report says that the amount of direct buy is more but not the total amount of promotion is more, there’s a difference,” Ng, who is MCA vice-president, told reporters today after launching the 2011 Art Expo Malaysia here.

In the report, the AG had reported that the ministry had overpaid in advertising fees when it tendered out its contracts directly.

Ng failed to reply to this but merely said direct negotiations were permitted and maintained that the prices paid were not above market rates.

“With direct negotiation, you deal directly with the media, you do away with intermediary. The prices we paid are never above the market price”.

Ng has been implicated in a similar financial controversy in the past. Her ministry was accused of blatant abuse of power when opposition leaders revealed the payment fee of close to RM2 million to start up the ministry’s Facebook page.

She denied any wrongdoing and justified the payment of the fees.

Report true, says Ng

Ng admitted today that the report is “true” but again denied that her ministry had overspent, pointing out that her ministry had obtained a “Sijil Bersih (Clean Certificate) in the Auditor-General’s Report.

“We admit that the report is true, but we did not overspend. In fact, our promotion budget was the lowest in 2009 and 2010, but the amount of direct negotiations was higher because we wanted to go right on and get as much value for money as possible,” she said