Opposition lawmakers have criticised Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for using the government jet for his family’s year-end vacation to Australia at an inappropriate time.
PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli said Najib should not indulge in luxurious travel amid the current dismal economic climate.
He was responding to Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed, who said Najib was entitled to use the government jet due to his position as prime minister.
Among others, the deputy minister cited the security element as a reason the government jet was used.
While Rafizi agreed with Nur Jazlan on the security aspect, the Pandan lawmaker however said the matter should be judged from the context of how Malaysia is faring from a financial viewpoint.
The PKR leader also noted that the prime minister adopted the cut spending policy in the 2017 Budget.
“Jet spending should be among the first to be cut. He can’t continue using the private jet, not even for domestic purposes. This is against his policy.
“I estimate the government has to fork out RM70 million annually to lease and operate all the five jets.
“This is reckless spending. This shows he does not care if the people are suffering. In other countries, he would have to resign,” he told Malaysiakini.
Rafizi also urged the government to draft a guideline with regard to the government jets.
“At the least, we should have the wife to the prime minister reimburse every single sen equivalent of a commercial airline (if she flies in the government jet), just like in the US,” he said.
‘Why not holiday in Malaysia?’
Similarly, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) lawmaker Hatta Ramli said this happened when people are affected by floods.
“When some people are in relief centres due to floods in Kelantan, we have a prime minister who is jet setting everywhere. This what makes people wonder if the prime minister is touching base,” he said.
The Kuala Krai MP said he thought ministers and deputy ministers would advise Najib to be more prudent.
Furthermore, Hatta said Najib’s family could have spent their vacation in Malaysia instead of going abroad.
“He is not sensitive enough. I am not too sure if Malaysia deserves this kind of prime minister,” he added.
Meanwhile, DAP’s Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said the prime minister should set an example on prudent spending.
“I don’t know if he is entitled to this. But, he would give a bad impression (by doing this) when the economy remains discouraging,” he added.
On the other hand, PAS’ Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar described it as “rude” to use public funds in this manner.