PETALING JAYA: DAP’s Yeo Bee Yin has responded to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s aide, Rizal Mansor, saying he suffers from “selective amnesia” for having forgotten parts of the conversations they had during a visit to Permata.
In retaliation, Rizal called the Damansara Utama assemblyperson a “tiang kayu” (wooden post).
The name-calling came after Rizal responded to reports of opposition leaders urging for Permata — which is the brainchild of Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor — to be abolished.
According to Rizal, Yeo and other DAP leaders claimed to have been satisfied with Permata’s explanation on how it operated when they came to visit Permata’s office last year.
“He seems to have selective memory on what we discussed during the several public exchanges we had on Permata.
“During the visit, we made it clear that Permata’s programmes need to be under full ministries, especially the women, family and community development ministry, instead of under the Prime Minister’s Department,” said Yeo in a statement issued earlier today.
Pakatan Harapan had made the call to abolish Permata along with the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) and Biro Tatanegara (BTN) in its proposal to save government expenditure.
The opposition pact’s leaders, PKR’s Saifuddin Nasution, DAP’s Liew Chin Tong and Amanah’s Khalid Samad, asked for Permata’s funding to be distributed to other early childhood education programmes under the education ministry.
“Such suggestions should be seriously considered by Putrajaya so that taxpayers’ money will be spent more efficiently, with more coordinated strategies and operations on early childhood education,” said Yeo in her statement.
“All in all, we see no reason why the programmes currently run by Permata cannot be run by the full ministries, which surely have more experience and expertise than the PM’s Department in early childhood education.
“Perhaps Rizal’s over-eagerness in defending Permata under the PM’s Department is for the reason other than the benefit of Malaysian children?”
To this Rizal, on his Facebook, said he now realised that the explanation made to Yeo and other DAP delegates during the Permata visit, was actually made to “wooden posts”.
He added that the issues Yeo raised had been repeatedly explained by Permata representatives who spoke about the limitations they faced.
Yeo also claimed to have requested for Permata’s accounts. She said she was directed to the auditor-general, which then sent her back to Permata, before being told “there was no need for them to disclose the accounts”.
Rizal responded to this with a screenshot of a page on Permata’s website, which showed the financial reports for 2013 and 2014.
“If even to download this account, I have to teach, then (she is) definitely a wooden post,” he said.