PETALING JAYA: An opposition MP has urged Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to list out the cost of office renovations for all ministers and deputy ministers, not just those in the prime minister’s department.
This comes after Ismail noted in a written reply last week that a total of RM1,073,580 was spent on renovations and furnitures for the offices of ministers and deputy ministers at the prime minister’s department over the past two years .
At a press conference in the Dewan Rakyat today, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said the reply was not good enough as Ismail had provided a list of only three sets of expenditure on the office renovations.
“That was just for the prime minister’s department. The public deserves to know how many ministers have used the people’s money to renovate their offices.
“If the cost of renovating the three offices in one building came to more than RM1 million, imagine the total amount of renovations for the whole Cabinet.
“Thus, it is the responsibility of the ministers or prime minister to get all these answers and the speaker’s (Azhar Harun) job to coordinate the questions,” she said.
The former women, family and community development deputy minister, criticised the request to ask each minister individually, saying that was not practical.
“The quota of questions given to all MPs are only 10 oral questions and five written questions. If I want to get the cost of office renovations from all the ministers, I will not be able to ask other questions. This does not make sense.”
Yeoh also questioned the high expenditure on office renovations, especially during the pandemic and hoped that Azhar would properly coordinate the basic task of ensuring that all MPs received proper answers.
She added that for context, the cost of renovating the office of the law minister, which was RM380,000, was more than the amount spent on food baskets for 3,000 families in each parliamentary constituency last July.
Kubang Pasu MP Amiruddin Hamzah said it was insensitive for the government to renovate offices while people were struggling to make ends meet.
“Suddenly, they can spend as much as RM1 million on renovations in the prime minister’s department and this is not including the RM30 million renovations at Seri Perdana (the prime minister’s official residence),” he said, adding that he did not see any flaws that would amount to such a huge figure.
He also said that when he was in office as deputy finance minister under the Pakatan Harapan administration, he did not spend a dime on renovations as the office was comfortable enough and suitable for all MPs to carry out their tasks.
Yeoh added that the RM30 million spent on renovations at Seri Perdana could have helped provide food baskets to more than 200,000 families in 70 parliamentary constituencies.
It was reported today that the RM30 million renovations at Seri Perdana were necessary to ensure safety as well as to preserve the country’s image during visits by key dignitaries.
The explanation by Ismail came after Mahfuz Omar (Pokok Sena-PH) sought justification for the spending at a time when Malaysians are reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST DATA ON THE COVID-19 SITUATION IN MALAYSIA