I welcome the prompt official statement issued from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) denying that the public has footed the bill for the engagement ceremony of the Prime Minister’s daughter, despite a clear evidence in the form of a “Banquet Event Order” (BEO) from Shangrila Hotel that suggests otherwise as the whole booking and payment instructions were dealt with by the PMO.
PMO’s demand for my instant apology is premature at this junction as the two paragraphs statement consists of only mere denials, without any hard evidence or facts that can support the denial. Nor did the PMO dispute the veracity of the BEO document produced against the Prime Minister.
In the midst of widespread scepticism against Barisan Nasional’s commitment to combat corruption, a mere denial such as that is hardly convincing; let alone when there is a hard evidence produced that corroborates the allegation that PMO has managed the whole booking and payments of the event.
Therefore, in order to clear his name, I urge Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak to answer the following questions backed up by hard evidence in the form official documents to prove that the public did not foot the bill for his daughter’s engagement party:
First, he has to confirm (or deny) that the engagement party did cost as much as specified in the BEO document produced against him;
Second, he has to confirm (or deny) the veracity and authenticity of the Banquet Event Order (BEO) produced against him that clearly specifies the PMO as the party footing the bill;
Third, he has to instruct the PMO to produce the original copy of the Purchase Order sent to Shangrila Hotel to ascertain which party was originally responsible for making the order,
Fourth, he has to instruct the PMO to produce the original snapshot of the accounting transaction from the Government of Malaysia’s (GOM’s) accounting system which recorded the Purchase Order, to ascertain whether the order (allegedly raised by the PMO) was ever recorded in the accounting system,
Fifth, he has to instruct the PMO to produce the original copy of the invoice sent by Shangrila Hotel in relation to the event as it can be used to determine whether the whole expenses were charged personally to the Prime Minister as he claims,
Sixth, he has to instruct the PMO to produce the original snapshot of the accounting transaction from the Government of Malaysia’s (GOM’s) accounting system which recorded the invoice sent by Shangrila Hotel, to ascertain whether the liability to pay the invoice was ever recorded in the accounting system,
Seventh, he has to instruct the PMO to produce the original payment voucher made to Shangrila Hotel to ascertain the party which first settled the bill; and
Eight, he has to produce proof of payments in the form of a copy of his personal cheque used to pay, or his bank statements or any third party records of his financial transactions that can substantiate his claim that he did pay for the bill.
The rakyat can only be satisfied that the Prime Minister did not use the public money to pay for his daughter’s engagement banquet if these eight evidences can be produced to establish with certainty that at no time, the Government of Malaysia ever recorded a liability to pay for the bill. Even if the Prime Minister did reimburse the payment later on, if it can be established that the bill of almost half a million ringgit was at one point or another recorded in the accounting system of the government, that already constitutes an abuse of government position for his personal interest.
Unless these eight questions and hard evidences are produced to the public, he will grapple with the public perception that despite his massive campaign to portray him as a clean and transparent Prime Minister, he is no different from his other colleagues in the cabinet who allegedly use the public fund for personal gains.
MOHD RAFIZI RAMLI
DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIES, KEADILAN
10 MARCH 2012