Sifting Through The Bullshit: Bersih 2.0 To Impact Tourism

“Major” tourism industry players have indicated that the Bersih rally will have a huge impact on tourism in Malaysia if it is allowed to proceed. A figure of losses of RM1.2 billion was even bandied about.

This is how our esteemed Minister of Tourism, Ng Yen Yen does her Maths:

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Last year’s tourism income in July = RM6 billion
Ng Yen Yen is pessimistic, so she assumes that Bersih will cause the industry to lose 20% income, which equals RM1.2 billion

How did she arrive at 20% loss? Who knows, maybe she pulled it out of her ass.

RM6 billion is the tourism revenue for the entire Malaysia, and the Bersih rally only affects the KL city center, so once again, more magical numbers pulled out of her ass. Or does she have statistics to show that KL contributes a lot more income than places like Penang, Sabah, or the beautiful beaches on the east coast?

Because we are intelligent people, and not irresponsible tukang karut like Ng Yen Yen, let’s use some basic statistical information readily available from the Tourism Malaysia website to disproof Ng Yen Yen’s nonsense.

Let’s make a few assumptions:

1. Tourist arrivals is proportional to tourism revenue. This assumption is made because there are no statistics on tourism revenue on the website.

2. Tourist nationalities do not affect income spent. We all think we know Middle Eastern travelers spend a lot more than Singaporean travelers, but without hard statistical data, it’s just us making that assumption. So for the purposes of simplification, let’s assume all tourists spend the same amount of money regardless of nationality.

Ok, let’s start. The last 2 major rallies in the country were the Bersih 1.0 and Hindraf rallies. Both rallies took place in November 2007, on 10th November and 25th November respectively.

Using Tourism Malaysia’s reporting generator, here are some numbers:

Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2005): 1,432,317
Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2006): 1,564,286
Percent Growth: 9.2%

Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2006): 1,564,286
Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2007): 1,764,586
Percent Growth: 12.8%

(edit: Change dates from 2008/2009 to 2007/2008)
Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2007): 1,764,586
Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2008): 1,845,645
Percent Growth: 4.6%

Don’t just take my word for it. Go Google the statistics yourself (or use link above). So when Ng Yen Yen says that tourism revenue will drop by 20%, I don’t understand, because statistics show otherwise. The last 2 major rallies happening in Nov 2007, drawing tens of thousands of people, and tourism arrivals grew more in Nov 2007, than as compared to the growth in Nov 2006 or Nov 2008 (preceding and subsequent years). Tak paham! Tak paham langsung! My brain is about to burst!

But seriously, I know that statistics can be manipulated to prove some point (in this case, my point), but at least I am not pulling some numbers out of my ass to con you.

The real conman is Ng Yen Yen, who with her network of government-linked media would like you to believe that tourism will be hurt by a rally. Hong Kong just observed the 14th anniversary of their hand-over to China. About 100,000 people joined a pro-democracy rally. I wonder loudly if HK was hit hard by tourist arrivals.

Ng Yen Yen (pic stolen from MCA website)

Ng Yen Yen (pic stolen from MCA website)

For the misinformation Ng Yen Yen has been spreading, I now declare:

Ng Yen Yen says the darndest things!