KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--The announcement of special holidays, travel packages and discounts for civil servants and pensioners to boost domestic tourism is highly questionable.
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, through Tourism Malaysia, has launched multiple holiday packages to cater specially to civil servants and government pensioners.
Minister Nancy Shukri said the ministry had developed 457 packages involving tourism products across the nation, with deals as low as RM120 a person and valid until 30 June next year (Free Malaysia Today, 8 November).
While the government is trumpeting its “Malaysian family” slogan to help unite the people towards a progressive nation, here we have one minister promoting domestic tourism by segmentation of society.
Why are only 1.2 million civil servants and government pensioners given this privilege? What about the millions of private sector employees, the self-employed and gig workers who are also affected by the paralysing economic downturn?
What about the tens of thousands of people who lost their jobs or suffered pay cuts during the pandemic?
Between the private sector and the civil service, we all know that the former has kept the nation’s productivity buoyant. Yet when it comes to perks and benefits, it is the civil servants who are given the best perks, benefits and options.
How can we ever dream of becoming a “Malaysian family” if we keep practising such divisive policies? When will we ever learn to look at all the people here as equal partners in the march to make Malaysia great?
When will we ever learn that the wealth and goodness of this country is for all its residents – irrespective of their station in life or employment status – to enjoy and relish?
Or are these new 457 packages of travel and holiday perks announced by the government a general election inducement?