QUICK TAKE: Hmm… three hours of work and a five-day golf holiday in Dubai. Very, very productive indeed.
Well, Malaysians! Please say a big thank you to the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) government for its leadership by example and for moving Malaysia forward.
Don’t complain. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be imposed next year is to fund more of such productive overseas trips by ministers for Malaysia to boost socio-economic growth.
It is for the future of Malaysians and Malaysia. That is why Malaysians must tighten their belts, struggling to make ends meet daily to put decent meals on the table for their loved ones.
Ahh! Yes. Although Malaysians have yet to be briefed how Terengganu’s 15-day Antarctica “study expedition” has benefited the country, please don’t be unpatriotic and question why taxpayers’ money was used to fund it.
Be patient. Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said and BN may soon announce that as a result of the Antarctica “study expedition”, the price of ice cubes and blocks will be reduced to benefit the rakyat.
Malaysians have witnessed many such costly trips made by ministers and high officials all in the name of “demi rakyat dan negara” (for people and country).
Has the government ever justified such trips with actual returns?
In an article jointly penned by DAP’s Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim and Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari, according to leaked documents posted on what appears to be a whistle-blower blog, Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin appears to be enjoying a five-day golf holiday in Dubai at the expense of Malaysian taxpayers.
The alleged itinerary for Muhyiddin’s “working visit” to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, from April 8 to 12, on the pretext of attending the Gulf Education and Training Exhibition (GETEX) 2014, reveals that the DPM is travelling by “special aircraft”.
Commercial aircraft is not good enough for Muhyiddn.
Staying at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel Dubai for the entire five-day trip, Muhyiddin’s duties at GETEX require him to attend the official opening ceremony, officiate at the Education Malaysia Pavilion, and take courtesy calls from the UAE Minister of Education and the Minister of Culture, Youth and Social Development.
Finally, he is scheduled to sign an MoU on higher education. All the above programmes are scheduled to occupy his time from 10am to 1pm on April 9, after which he would depart to the Montgomerie Golf Club, to be followed by a cruise dinner.
The remaining days in Dubai will be spent on “private programmes” and the occasional informal dinner with a few business figures and Malaysian diaspora. On the final day, he has another golf engagement.
In other words, Muhyiddin is spending five days in Dubai for only three hours’ worth of official education business, 10 hours on the golf course and two whole days on “private programmes”.
Surely, there are many questions to be answered, especially if this trip is to be paid for by the public purse.
The rakyat has the right to know who is footing the bill for this luxury trip, including the cost of the “special aircraft”, hotel stay at the five-star Shangri-La Dubai for the entire delegation, and other costs that will be borne by the government, including the education ministry, Education Malaysia, Talentcorp (which is sponsoring the Malaysian diaspora dinner on April 11) and the Prime Minister’s Department (where the DPM’s Office is parked under).
The education ministry was allocated the largest budget amongst all ministries for 2014 (RM54 billion or 21 per cent of the federal budget). Is this how the budget is being spent?