GRATEFUL COUPLE … Najib publicly thanked his wife last year for skipping an Italian holiday “for the sake of Malaysians”
Seputeh member of parliament Teresa Kok’s during her adjournment speech at the parliament last night had asked Najib to explain his recent tour of several Western cities, accompanied by his wife Rosmah Mansor and scores of government officers.
This followed a parliamentary reply by minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz on June 14, detailing the cost of the trip, which Nazri claimed had concluded in Washington where Najib and wife attended their son’s graduation ceremony.
Teresa had then disputed the claim, citing “aeronautical evidence” obtained from aviation traffic website Flight Radar 24, which showed that his official plane 9M-NAA flew to Milan, Italy from Washington on May 20 and stopped in Dubai before returning home.
Teresa’s suspicion was confirmed yesterday when deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong said Najib spent four days in the Italian fashion capital for a “personal trip”.
“The prime minister had decided to make a ‘private trip’ to Italy from May 20 to May 24, 2012. The change affected the report on the PM’s trip at the administrative and financial level which was why (the trip to Italy) was not mentioned when the reply (by Nazri) was given,” he said, adding that the stopover in Dubai was for the aircraft’s refuelling.
Earlier, giving the breakdown of the trip’s costs incurred by the government, Nazri (left) said some RM3 million was spent during Najib’s stay in London, New York and Washington, but did not mention the Milan trip.
For his two-day plus stay in London, the government forked out RM849,175. A similar length of stay in New York cost double that amount, at RM1,606,402, while his remaining days spent in Washington for a private visit, cost the government RM452,985.75.
However, Liew revised the amount spent in Washington to RM273,799.57, but did not explain the RM179,186 difference.
Teresa had earlier questioned the use of the official aircraft for personal use, and demanded to know why the Milan-Dubai journey was concealed from the public, and whether the amount spent in Washington included any shopping trip in Milan.
“Why did Nazri lead the Parliament to believe, in the Parliamentary reply, that the contingent had stayed in Washington for almost five days?,” she asked.
According to Liew, although the Washington visit was considered private, Najib had attended business meetings with investors and was accompanied by his officers including bodyguards and medical personnel. Teresa meanwhile said her suspicion had been proven right.
“Thanks to Flight Radar 24 that exposed his trip,” she twitted.
Last year, upon his return from a European trip in July, Najib publicly thanked his wife Rosmah for allowing to forgo a family holiday in Italy “for the sake of Malaysians back home”. This has led many to question whether the trip last month was to reward Rosmah’s ‘sacrifice’. – harakah