Two DAP lawmakers today questioned the purpose of Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s five-day official trip to Dubai, which was said to have been partly sponsored by two companies – Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd (AZRB) and Eversendai Corporation Bhd.
One key question they have raised is: Why were there no Ministry of Education officers accompanying the DPM since one of the purposes of the trip was to develop educational ties and attend an education exhibition?
In a joint statement today, Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari and Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim said they were shocked to note there was no education ministry official in the DPM’s 17-man entourage.
“If one of the main purposes of going to Dubai was to develop education ties and also attend an education exhibition, why are there no officials from the Ministry of Education?” the DAP MPs said in their statement.
Based on documents posted on a whistle blower’s blog, seven out of the 17 were security personnel (six bodyguards and one aide-de-camp), while the rest comprised four special officers, two political secretaries, a press secretary and a private secretary.
Zairil Khir and Sim also questioned the ‘returns’ for Malaysia in terms of education development and trade, when most gulf countries performed worse than Malaysia in the recent international Programme for International Students Assessments 2013 report.
They remarked: “Should we not be establishing education ties with high-performing states such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Finland or Canada instead?”
The two Opposition MPs said “the public has the right” to know how much the government had spent on the total cost of the trip.
“We want to know the cost borne by the Ministry of Education and DPM’s Office,” they said.
“This also includes agencies such as TalentCorp, Education Malaysia, Tourism Malaysia and others for this trip, including for travel by ‘special aircraft’, lodging at the five-star Shangri-La Dubai and other costs incurred.”
“For the sake of accountability and transparency in the use of public funds, as well as in the public interest, we hope these questions will be answered,” the Opposition MPs said.
The DAP duo asked if there were any more private sponsors for dinner and golf games, apart from AZRB and Eversendai.
Last week, Zairil Khir and Sim highlighted Muhyiddin’s controversial five-day working visit to the United Arab Emirates, alleging that only a small portion of Muhyiddin’s trip was dedicated to official events.
In response, Muyhiddin posted a lengthy statement on his Facebook saying the visit was not a “golf holiday” as alleged.
He added that the document revealed by the two Opposition MPs was a draft programme under discussion. According to the statement, it is “the norm to have several versions of the programme before settling on the final one.
The facebook posting said: “In the final version of the programme, Muhyiddin has a tight schedule with official duties.”
The statement also slammed and expressed regret over the DAP lawmakers’s ‘unprofessional’ behaviour for basing their allegations on unverified documents.
source: The Edge