Not wrong to question palace spending, says Rais

The expenses of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V came under scrutiny after veteran newsman Kadir Jasin questioned the over RM250 million allegedly spent by Istana Negara.

BANGI: Former federal minister Rais Yatim says it was not wrong for veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin to question Istana Negara’s expenses and his action did not tarnish the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s image.

He said this was because money from the consolidated fund meant for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s expenditure came from the people and was not spent by him, but those responsible for the money.

“Every cent from the fund must be spent responsibly.”

In this context, he said, it was not wrong for Kadir to question the spending of allegedly over RM250 million by Istana Negara.

“The one spending the money is those under the King. The accountants decide on how to spend the money.

He said perhaps Sultan Muhammad V did not ask for anything but those administering the funds spent more money than needed.

It was previously reported that Kadir would be investigated for sedition and defamation over a blog post about the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s expenses.

The PPBM Supreme Council member had three police reports lodged against him after he claimed that RM257 million was spent for the upkeep and personal expenditure of Sultan Muhammad V in the 16 months since he became the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

In his blog post, Kadir said the amount, averaging RM16 million a month, was spent on the Agong’s accommodation, residence, personal items, aircraft, transportation, clothing, gifts and souvenirs, overseas visits and salaries of palace staff, among others.

His post earned him criticism from PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, who hit out at him saying respect and decorum must be maintained.

On a separate matter, Rais said there was no need for the public to worry about the position of the Malay Rulers as no constitutional amendment related to the rulers, emergency powers and the special position of the Malays, Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak and interests of other races, could be made without the consent of the Malay Rulers.

He said the royal institution would continue to exist so long as Malaysia did.