Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Facebook Social Networks The Almighty Buck Idle Your Rights Online

Malaysian Gov't Spends $600,000 On 6 Facebook Pages 92

Posted by timothy
from the driving-aggregate-demand-one-friend-at-a-time dept.
gizmodolt writes "The entrenched Malaysian governing party, Barisan Nasional, has spent almost $600,000 on six Facebook pages promoting tourism in the country. This has sparked criticism from opposition parties, decrying the 'ridiculous' reasoning behind this waste of taxpayer funds and garnered widespread recrimination from Malaysians around the globe, who have made their sentiments known, quite publicly, on those very same Facebook pages."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Malaysian Gov't Spends $600,000 On 6 Facebook Pages

Comments Filter:
  • Tourism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cgeys (2240696) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @11:47AM (#36436914)
    The summary says these are just pages, but they're actually applications and games. Those do cost a lot more to create. It also seems like with his saying "those are just facebook fan pages" he doesn't really understand how much behind the scenes work such things actually need. Yeah, some lovely video of cute cat on YouTube might go viral, but theres a small change of that with something like promoting a country's tourism. Companies also spend lots of money for marketing and those Facebook pages can be highly valuable resources to them. This being slashdot I'm sure I get responses like "if it's good enough people will come", but that just doesn't work with everything and even then you still need to make sure people know about it. There is a lot of work done behind the scenes on such things.

    The $600,000 might be a little bit high, but it definitely isn't ridiculous compared to how much it can improve a country's tourism. South East Asian countries are highly dependent on tourism. There are many things I feel my country wastes money on, but this seems like a good deal. It definitely isn't waste, as it brings tourist to country and therefore jobs, money and wealth. My country spends cash on a lot more stupid things than that.
    • Re:Tourism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @11:59AM (#36437130) Homepage Journal

      Television ads intended to reach the same number of people globally would be pretty much guaranteed to cost more. In the end, you can't make money without spending money.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>you can't make money without spending money.

        Well then let the BUSINESSES (hotels, amusement parks, restaurants, etc) that stand to profit from the tourism do the spending, rather than using tax dollars.

        This sounds like Corporate Welfare --- the government is providing free advertising which businesses profit from, while the working class have to cover the costs of the ads. Steal from the poor; give to the rich.

        In the US the equivalent is when I have to pay for a new Football Stadium in Baltimor

        • by magarity (164372)

          Well then let the BUSINESSES (hotels, amusement parks, restaurants, etc) that stand to profit from the tourism do the spending, rather than using tax dollars

          Most localities do have special taxes just on hotel stays. These go in to the general government fund and usually are more than what the government's tourism promotion agency spends. Umm, a well-run government tourism agency that is, not one spending piles of money on a facebook profile. In this case does it sound like a hotel association could oversee how advertising dollars are best spent but then you run in to a game theory problem; hotels that do not belong to the association spending on promoting tou

          • by mjwx (966435)

            Most localities do have special taxes just on hotel stays.

            I wouldn't say that.

            I've been to very few nations where the government has a special "tourist tax" as that's an ideal way to alienate tourism. Rather a lot of governments profit from ordinary taxes generated from tourism. Tourists from richer countries bring in money from external economies that would not have existed otherwise.

            As for Malaysia specifically, they have a 10% government tax and 7.5% service charge. I'm not sure how much of the service charge goes to the Govt. but they'll see 100% of that

            • by jrumney (197329)

              As for Malaysia specifically, they have a 10% government tax and 7.5% service charge.

              Where do you get this info from? Hotels and restaurants employing more than a certain number of staff are subject to a 6% government service tax (raised from 5% at the beginning of this year), and most also add a 10% service charge to the bill (as tipping is not customary in Malaysia, and the government probably regulates how much is allowed for "tips" outside of what is covered by service tax so they are taking maximum ad

              • by mjwx (966435)

                As for Malaysia specifically, they have a 10% government tax and 7.5% service charge.

                Where do you get this info from? Hotels and restaurants employing more than a certain number of staff are subject to a 6% government service tax (raised from 5% at the beginning of this year), and most also add a 10% service charge to the bill).

                I got the 10% and 6% transposed.

                Thanks for not being a douche when pointing out this simple mistake (HINT: This is sarcasm).

                This is probably because I'm used to thinking in terms of the Oz GST which is 10% and service charges are not customary here.

            • by magarity (164372)

              Most localities do have special taxes just on hotel stays.

              I wouldn't say that.
              I've been to very few nations where the government has a special "tourist tax" as that's an ideal way to alienate tourism.

              They call it 'lodging tax' or 'hotel tax', not 'tourist tax'. Many, many, local jurisdictions around the world have them for hotels only or hotels and restaurants. Malaysia apparently calls it 'service tax'. So I suppose the question is how does the 600K compare to what was taken in by these taxes and what portion of that came from tourists vs locals who just wanted to eat out?

        • by mistiry (1845474)

          The government also profits from the influx of tourists spending their money. Sales tax, gas tax, alcohol tax, cigarette tax...

        • The government has an interest in doing the advertising because it means more tax dollars.

          Bringing in more tourists could create more jobs, so while there is a corporate welfare aspect to it, it isn't that simple.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          Well then let the BUSINESSES (hotels, amusement parks, restaurants, etc) that stand to profit from the tourism do the spending, rather than using tax dollars.

          Who profits from the 10% service tax in Malaysia. Look up who owns Malaysia Airports and tell me who profits from every visitor. The government of Malaysia would be earning more in tax from this then it spends.

          Using tax dollars to encourage a tourism industry is exactly what tax dollars should be spend on, if an industry can be fostered and in Mal

          • by mjwx (966435)

            Who profits from the 10% service tax in Malaysia. Look up who owns Malaysia Airports and tell me who profits from every visitor. The government of Malaysia would be earning more in tax from this then it spends.

            That's actually 6% tax, 10% service charge. But my point stands.

        • by petman (619526)

          It's BS and I can understand why the Malaysians are pissed.

          FTFY.

        • by mozumder (178398)

          A tax driven economy IS a business.

          Government IS a business. In fact, it is no different from any other economic entity - it's just a lot larger.

          You act as if a new football stadium in Baltimore doesn't benefit the person that never attends a Ravens football games.

          Economics isn't a single-variable function. Every action of every entity in the economy affects everyone else in the economy.

          • by cpu6502 (1960974)

            >>>You act as if a new football stadium in Baltimore doesn't benefit the person that never attends a Ravens football games.

            It doesn't. Especially as someone who never goes to Baltimore (me). It's no different than if the government volunteered to build Microsoft a new factory. It's corporate welfare for the rich; and the working class has to shoulder the burden.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              It doesn't. Especially as someone who never goes to Baltimore (me).

              Ignoring for a moment that I agree with you in so far as the benefits to society do not out-weigh the costs, you are both wrong and a liar. Wrong because of, among other things, it can attract tourists and their cash (but again, I agree with you that the payout does not out-weigh the cost). And a liar because, well, did you forget that Otakon is in Baltimore, just a few blocks from M&T Bank Stadium?

    • by lee1 (219161)
      I would have done it for half of that.
    • Re:Tourism (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Asic Eng (193332) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @01:33PM (#36438560)

      The $600,000 might be a little bit high

      It's quite possible to overspend, even if the spending itself is for a reasonable purpose, and even if the amount of money is not all that high in absolute terms.

      I'm trying to keep an open mind about this. Let's say $30k is a reasonable salary for a Flash programmer in Malaysia. So that's 20 man years development time. I've been searching for the pages, but it's difficult to find them using the names from the article (which is not a good sign):

      The Flash game seems to be here [facebook.com]. Didn't feel like starting it, given that it asked to post stuff on my wall and send me email. Sorry about that - but maybe someone would like to give it a spin and let us know?

      Is that really all they have - some plain text and photo galleries, plus a simple Flash game? Or did I not find the right stuff? Finding that should be easy though - otherwise it's hardly useful for it's intended purpose of convincing tourists to visit Malaysia. (I purposely searched for this marketing campaign and didn't find anything which would attract me to Malaysia - that can't be a good result for a country which I'm sure is an interesting place to visit...)

      It really does look like a ripoff.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      The $600,000 might be a little bit high, but it definitely isn't ridiculous compared to how much it can improve a country's tourism. South East Asian countries are highly dependent on tourism. There are many things I feel my country wastes money on, but this seems like a good deal. It definitely isn't waste, as it brings tourist to country and therefore jobs, money and wealth. My country spends cash on a lot more stupid things than that.

      Malaysia spends a lot more then that on tourism campaigns, TV ads here in Oz alone would cost more then that.

      But as you said, it would be quite profitable. Every hotel in Malaysia charges 10% government tax as well as 7.5% service charge so that's quite a little money spinner for the government. Not to mention that Malaysia Airports are owned by the M'asia govt, so landing fees are also a nice earner.

      Malaysian not only has a lot of competition for tourism from it's more established northern neighbour,

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Every hotel in Malaysia charges 10% government tax as well as 7.5% service charge so that's quite a little money spinner for the government.

        A wee bit of errata here, the tax is 6%, the service charge is 10%.

    • It is indeed true that you need to spend money to make money but perhaps I should put the value of these figures into a Malaysian perspective:
      1 USD is currently 3.03 MYR. The figure is 1.8 Million MYR, in a country where a Big Mac costs 6.95 MYR (2.23 USD). Yay, low cost of living.

      A mid-level Malaysian web developer [jobstreet.com] might get paid around 3,000 MYR (990 USD) a month, so 11,880 USD is my estimate for his/her salary, not 30,000 USD as estimated elsewhere. If all that cost went into development (as an over-s

  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @11:55AM (#36437056)
    Facebook pages make as much sense as all those stupid Wisconsin state tourism commercials I'm inundated with. The idea behind both is that you spend money to promote tourism which generates money. Not that I'm likely to go to Malaysia due to a Facebook page, but then I dont respond to advertisement in general.
    • but then I dont respond to advertisement in general.

      I have heard this before - and very much doubt I would find anything the least surprising about where you live, what you wear, what you eat and drink, the car you drive, or how you stock your medicine cabinet.

      • by Kenja (541830)
        I live in a house, was built in the 50's, I choose the area because it was lower cost then the area I wanted yet still offered a reasonable commute to work and nice landscape (lots of undeveloped hills and woods). I wear pants and shirts, dont know or care what the brands are. I buy the most comfortable at the best price I can find. I tend to cook my own food using "produce" (I am unaware of a name brand potato). Dont really have much of anything in my medicine cabinet other then some old prescriptions, I t
        • by mjwx (966435)

          I live in a house, was built in the 50's, I choose the area because it was lower cost then the area I wanted yet still offered a reasonable commute to work and nice landscape (lots of undeveloped hills and woods). I wear pants and shirts, dont know or care what the brands are. I buy the most comfortable at the best price I can find. I tend to cook my own food using "produce" (I am unaware of a name brand potato). Dont really have much of anything in my medicine cabinet other then some old prescriptions, I take what the doctor says will help.

          You've missed the GP's point.

          People who say they don't respond to advertising are often just oblivious to the fact they do. The last part of that statement.

          I take what the doctor says will help.

          Have you investigated the medicine for yourself. When the doctor gives me something, I'll generally do a Google search on it, at the very least I'll read the packaging. I live in Oz so the doctors are generally trustworthy, but it never hurts to have a cursory understanding of what you're taking (99 times out o

  • ... "social media" experts are to blame.
    • Please, if you have to use quotes, could you at least put that "experts" in them too?

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Please, if you have to use quotes, could you at least put that "experts" in them too?

        What if they were experts, say in engineering or economics as opposed to social media.

        • The combination of "social media" and "experts" just sounds like the combination of "homeopathic" and "doctor".

          • by mjwx (966435)

            The combination of "social media" and "experts" just sounds like the combination of "homeopathic" and "doctor".

            How about:

            Robert Homoeopathic, Medical Doctor?

    • by Seumas (6865)

      If you have a pair of tits, are under 40, and have a facebook and twitter account, you can make a living marketing yourself out to the media and businesses as a "social media expert".

  • What's the big deal? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    At least this expenditure helps the country.

    Here in the USA we spend $600,000 on a singe bomb to drop on a singe third world shack. These bombs are specially designed to minimize damage to neighboring third world shacks, but the people injured and the relatives of the dead will likely hate America for the rest of their lives.

    I think we should divert 60% of our military expenditures to pointless facebook pages or social programs and paying off the debt.

    By the way, facebook pages are a pain in the ass to code

    • by lennier (44736)

      These bombs are specially designed to minimize damage to neighboring third world shacks

      No, I think you'll find these bombs are specially designed to explode and kill people and break stuff as job #1, with 'try not to kill and break stuff that wasn't on the mission plan, but if a few more brown orphans grow up to become terrorists, that's just acceptable losses' as a distinct #2.

      They don't actually contain marshmallows and puppies, you know.

  • Like me! (Score:2, Funny)

    by sakdoctor (1087155)

    When my government asks me to 'like' it on facebook, then it's time for the revolution.

    • by chispito (1870390)

      When my government asks me to 'like' it on facebook, then it's time for the revolution.

      That easy, huh?

      • If it was that easy, you can bet your rear that we'd have a better government.

      • You can do that by liking ''s Revolution!!! help us reach 500k fans!!!'.

        you will be thrown in jail for treason and stuff though.

    • by xhrit (915936)
      Funny, I am friended to Obama on myspace.
    • by delinear (991444)
      The time for revolution is when they start "poking" you.
      • by mr1911 (1942298)
        Apparently not. The government has been "poking" us for years and there is no revolution yet.
    • by jovius (974690)

      Iceland is currently drafting the new constitution on social media and especially on Facebook, and it has already gathered a lot of positive vibes from people around the world - http://mashable.com/2011/06/13/iceland-crowdsource-constitution/ [mashable.com]

      After the devastating financial crisis the call for the people to participate must be revitalizing.

      Governments can do very likeable things.

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      When my government asks me to 'like' it on facebook, then it's time for the revolution.

      The number of "friends" other than political stooges, would be very telling.

  • My company works mainly on building apps/making campaings on social networks and I can assure you those numbers are not that expensive. It is more that we would have asked for them but within the same digits range.

    As usual: the "average Joe" doesn't realize how much things cost to do...

    Regards

  • What government puts on the web usually works out to 1/3 propaganda (see the wonderful things our fearless leader is doing), 1/3 vanity (stuff that that gets made without asking constituents first, because you know the constituents will just say it's a bad idea), and 1/3 actually useful stuff (putting up FAQ's, exposing data).

    • by xhrit (915936)
      ...and 100% pork. I wonder who's friend in Malaysia owns a web development firm?
    • by KarrdeSW (996917)

      What any organization puts on the web usually works out to 1/3 propaganda (see the wonderful things our fearless leader is doing), 1/3 vanity (stuff that that gets made without asking constituents first, because you know the constituents will just say it's a bad idea), and 1/3 actually useful stuff (putting up FAQ's, exposing data).

      Fixed that for you.

  • by westlake (615356) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @12:26PM (#36437628)

    [T]ourism has become Malaysia's third largest source of income from foreign exchange and accounted for 7% of Malaysia's economy as of 2005. As of 2009, Malaysia ranks 9th among the top most visited countries in the world, after Germany, although the vast majority of Malaysia's visitors are from neighboring Singapore.

    Tourism in Malaysia [wikipedia.org]

    Facebook has 600 million users.

    How much global exposure will a $600,000 add budget buy in you print, television and other media?

    • by afidel (530433)
      And very importantly those 600M users probably have a significantly higher wealth profile and thus ability to travel internationally.
  • italia.it (Score:3, Funny)

    by ponchietto (718083) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @12:33PM (#36437730)
    The italian government took 7 years and 55 million euro to create www.italia.it.
  • I think its pretty cheap actually. If the advertising brings consumers/tourism to there country. What difference does is make? TV ? Radio? Internet? Last time i checked advertising isn't free.
  • Ha! That's nothing! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kikito (971480) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @12:41PM (#36437880) Homepage

    My country has spent 600.000 *euros*

    a) On a *single* static website (yes, static, only html + javascript + css)
    b) Whose single purpose is basically *defending copyright*.
    c) When the unemployment rate has recently surpassed 10%
    d) And the site isn't even good looking.

    Judge yourselves:

    http://www.culturaenpositivo.es/ [culturaenpositivo.es]

    That's how we roll in Spain. Malaysians are just aficionados.

    • by mr1911 (1942298)
      Well, my government has spend billions of dollars to determine that the government spends too much money and that will be a problem someday when our credit runs out. We are spending billions more to redefine that as a *big* problem. And we didn't even get a website out of the deal.
    • by loufoque (1400831)

      We have the same shit in France, but they're so pathetic we can at least make fun of them.

  • I mean this is no big deal. The US government spent $18 million on recovery.gov.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Its nothing to do with developing games costing a lot.. its all corruption.. http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/mobile/malaysia/article/ad-agency-says-was-asked-for-bribes-to-win-tourism-contract/

    Every country does it.. including the US but you just don't see it easily here.

  • The US spent $500,000 and all we got were shrimp on treadmills. [go.com]

  • Harumph. here in Italy, the state-owned site www.italia.it ran up to 45 millions Euros (about 65 mil USD). Sorry, site in italian. trust me.
  • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @02:05PM (#36438994) Homepage Journal

    If you want to see real contractor rip-offs of the public, you should look at the US, where it has become an art form.

    I once was invited to a meeting in which a state agency (state withheld to protect the clueless) discussed the next plans for a system it purchased from a major government contractor with an emergency two million dollar federal grant. The agency wasn't a bad agency, mind you. In fact it was a fairly good one, but used to operating on a shoestring. They had no idea whatsoever what things cost, and suddenly they had two million bucks dumped on them that had to be shoveled out the door faster than the speed of thought. A politically connected federal contractor landed the contract and delivered on time and on budget, but the system wasn't really useful unless it was integrated with the agencies various activities.

    So I was asked to come and discuss how this could be done. In truth I think I was invited down so they could pick my brain for for free, because it turned out they didn't have *any* money left over from the two million they'd blown on initial development. Even if I'd offered my services pro bono, they wouldn't have had the money to pay my expenses. After the initial presentation, I asked the disgusted state IT guy next to me how much his department would have charged to build the system they'd just bought for two million. His estimate was sixty thousand. Mine was sixty-five.

    I've always thought that the whole situation must have been a set-up. The grant was dumped on an agency that had no idea how to procure technology, and they weren't given enough time to put together a reasonable RFP or to obtain competitive bids. It was a perfect sting. Had the extent of the waste come to public attention, some hapless state manager would have taken the fall. People love to crucify bureaucrats. The politician behind the earmark would point his finger at his political enemies at the state level, and his (I am presuming) contractor cronies would truthfully say they had done everything they had contracted for.

    The lesson is that while government is often infuriatingly slow, beware of any project where there's pressure to spend taxpayer money before it disappears. Never spend public money in a hurry. "Shovel-ready" equals "graft-ready".

  • They just have one guy make all 6 pages, and he gets paid less than a dollar

  • The page just 404'd on me. looks like someone got their nutz in a vice over this one and pulled the page.

"Hello again, Peabody here..." -- Mister Peabody

Working...