June 18th, 2010 by Press Office
No dazzle for Teresa Kok at Malaysia Pavilion
by Regina Lee
Jun 17, 10
The Malaysia Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China, has failed to impress Seputeh MP Teresa Kok.
The exhibit, which comes at a RM35 million price tag, has been plagued with one embarrassing bungle after another, not entirely unfamiliar with Malaysian construction, she said.
“I was told that there are always blackouts at the pavilion and that the roof leaks, causing a small flood inside every time there is heavy rain,” she said in a draft of her forthcoming speech to parliament, which was made available to Malaysiakini.
Kok also complained of a lack of foresight when it came to planning the pavilion, saying that there was only one staircase leading to the first floor, causing a “traffic mess” for visitors.
Pointing all blame at the Tourism Ministry, she asked if the contractor given the task of building the pavilion had obtained the certificate of fitness from the Shanghai local council.
“Who is this contractor who built the Malaysia Pavilion, which is so full of flaws and defects, and what is the background of the company?” she fumed.
She also asked whether the ministry had called for an open tender before awarding the project.
It was previously reported that the contract for the pavilion was given after direct negotiations with Venturepharm Sdn Bhd, a pharmaceutical company.
Pretty on the outside, empty inside
Kok also criticised the culinary standards of the array of Malaysian treats available at the pavilion.
“Even the food sold at the Malaysia Pavilion is not reflective of our cuisine because the cooks are not Malaysians… they don’t know how local dishes are supposed to be prepared,” said the iron lady of DAP, who is also the Selangor exco for investment, industry and trade.
“It was only pretty from the outside, but looked empty inside. The Malaysia Pavilion failed to highlight the image of Malaysia at this World Expo. In fact, we are sorely way behind, compared with our neighbours in the Asean region,” she said.
Of her experience at the World Expo during her three-day working visit as a Selangor exco late last month, Kok said the Malaysia Pavilion looked like it was nothing more than an outlet for the promotion of federal government investment agencies MIDA and Matrade.
“All other pavilions, including those of our neighbouring countries, were successfully used as vehicles to promote their history, culture, image, policies, local produce and tourist spots,” she said.
Double standards by pavilion management?
She also expressed regret that those in charge at the Malaysia Pavilion did not extend her entourage a “helping hand”, such as giving them letters of support to help fast-track their visits to the other pavilions.
Malaysian dignitaries and VIPs on official visit to the World Expo could move in and out of the other pavilions without having to queue up – which could be for several hours at a popular one – with just a letter of support or an email from the Malaysia Pavilion management.
“I hope the pavilion management understands its role in helping Malaysian delegates at this global forum, that it has a responsibility to help lawmakers from both sides of the political fence,” Kok said.
Contacted later, she said she managed to get help from a friend who works at the World Expo to facilitate her visit.
The Malaysia Pavilion, which boasts Minangkabau architecture, raised the ire of Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers in Parliament yesterday when it was revealed that the number of visitors to it may not be enough to achieve the target of 10 million by the time the six-month-long World Expo ends on Oct 31.
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