Sunday, 1 June 2008

Singapore Tourism Board clarifies : AMCIS isn't 'official'

To :
Chairman Mr Wee Ee-chao
Singapore Tourism Board

Dear Mr Wee,

I would like to bring your attention to the behaviour of the people of the above organization which STB supports.

Attached is a complaint that I made against them. You can judge for yourself.

I am appalled at the behaviour of some of the people in AMCIS. Because STB endorses them, they take it to mean they are 'official' and those who do not need the help of STB to find them foreign students as 'unofficial'.

I have been an 'unofficial' ambassador for Singapore for years, contributing to the economy of Singapore in my own small ways. I recruit foreign students to study in Singapore. Long before competitors organize summer courses in Singapore, I started doing that and when I approached the then STPB for help in 1990s, I was put to an 'ang moh'. He just told me to go to Inlingua as it can 'do everything' for me.

I don't need STB's assistance. There are many guardians who do not need STB's help. We are law-abiding citizens amd we would not do illegal things to jeopardize our business. It is our bread and butter, our families depend on it for a living. You should be glad we are independent but instead we are branded 'unofficial'.

I want STB to make clear its stand. AMCIS claims it is the officially appointed organization of STB to handle foreign students placement in Singapore, those who do not get endorsement from STB are 'unofficial' and illegal. I should be frightened? Such remarks were purposely made loud and clear to me in front of scores of foreign parents and students on 1st November 2004 at around 3.50 pm. And I was told, should I complain, he 'knows many ministers'. I am making my complaints because I want to know who are the ministers he claim to know.

I await STB's reply.

Jayne Goh
2nd November 2004

cc PM Lee Hsien Loong
Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports - Dr Vivian Balakrishnan


STB's reply :

Dear Ms Goh
Re : Complaint on AMCIS

1. Thank you for your feedback of 2nd Nov 2004.

2. The incident that took place at the Principals Academy Certification testing on 1st Nov 2004 was regretful. STB has spoken to Mr Ezra Ng, Executive Director of Principals Academy Inc (PAI) and Mr Francis Zhan President, AMCIS to have abetter understanding on this matter. We understand that PAI had replied you on this matter. AMCIS had also provided a detailed explanation of this incident to PAI.

3. We wish to clarify that AMCIS is not the 'officially appointed organization' of STB as stated in your letter. From our investigations, AMCIS explained that they had used the term 'official' in the context of being invited to participate as one of the vendors by PAI. (What a lie! My foreign students and fellow guardians are witnesses to the claims by Francis Zhan.)

4. The arrangement between STB and AMCIS is not mutually exclusive and we are open to working with other organizations that can help us further our objective of promoting Singapore as a visitor-friendly destination. STB had supported the AMCIS Homestay programme , and its related components such as EduStay, as they were identified as promising initiatives in the area of accommodation and education services.

5. The EduStay component of the AMCIS Homestay programme was initiated by Education and Services Division of STB to serve the needs of international students who require board and lodging with guardianship. AMCIS, as an organisation, was approached to develop such a programme as they already possessed the infrastructure and services in the existing Homestay programme.

6 We hope that the above addresses your concerns.

Yours faithfully,
f Sim Beng Khoon
Director, Travel and Hospitality Business

Complaint made on 2nd November 2004
STB replied on 30th November 2004 - 28 days

This is an example of LC people (PAI, AMCIS) who behave as if they have mandate from the Emperor.