The PM and his family had sneaked off for their holiday without informing the country, which ran counter to protocol, and worse still, it was later discovered that the Najibs and their guests had flown there using the government’s jet plane reserved for official use.
“For the House’s information, YAB Prime Minister’s visit to Perth, Australia from 31 August to 3 September 2011 was a private visit,” said the written reply to a question raised by PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua.
Between damage control and outright lies
The PM had last appeared in the King’s Palace for a Hari Raya function on August 30. News then leaked out that he had flown off on Merdeka Day, riling many Malaysians wo were already disgusted at his lavish spending and suspected abuse of government facilities for his personal use.
To compound matters, Najib’s advisers tried to damage-control by insinuating that the trip was for official purposes and Najib had gone to attend a dinner for students in Perth. But Najib and family flew out on Wednesday, while the dinner took place on Saturday night.
To make matters worse, national news agency Bernama reported the students as praising Najib to the skies. Compliments like “awesome” were used to describe his speech to them. But the overkill annoyed the students and many of posted the true situation on Facebook, again exposing the lies that surround the first couple.
“They totally changed and added stuff that we never said. And the whole thing was done before the speech and not after. I feel it is rather silly and unnecessary,” Malaysiakini reported the student as saying.
“They put in quotes that we actually did not say and altered our words. We did not say anything bad so I don’t see why they needed to do that.”
Last week, the PM’s office also admitted that as much as RM9 million was spent to rent the Airbus A319-IIX used by Najib to fly to Perth. The plane has been rented from Syarikat Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad since 3 August 2007 for official use by important country leaders such as the King, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.
The government had been responding to a query from PKR MP for Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah Anwar.
Abuse of power
There is growing unhappiness about the first couple’s lavish lifestyle and public clamoring for a thorough public inquiry into whether they have been abusing their power and charging their personal expenses to taxpayers. ‘
On Tuesday, Parliament was also stunned to hear that a trip to Kazakhstan had cost Malaysians more than RM1 million. This trip caught the public’s eye after news leaked that Najib had intentionally scheduled an official visit to coincide with his daughter’s engagement to a rich Kazakh scion. Accusation were rife that the first couple had included their private guests in the official entourage, which was flown there and feted first class, courtesy of the Malaysian public.
It did not help when Najib also admitted to Parliament on Tuesday that he had paid RM94 million to disgraced UK public relations firm FBC Media to produce ‘glowing’ programs that gave a false impression of his leadership and projects. FBC is now under probe by the UK regulator for slipping these ‘propaganda’ productions as news into segments broadcast by CNN, CNBC and BBC.
“These are unethical practices and will tarnish the country’s image,” PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng toldMalaysia Chronicle.