Lavish ministerial parties as Putrajaya, Malaysians tighten belts

  • Jalan Bukit Bintang stretch closed to traffic from today
    Jalan Bukit Bintang stretch closed to traffic from today

    The 500m stretch of Jalan Bukit Bintang between Chulan Square and Menara Worldwide will be closed to all traffic beginning today. Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp), in a statement today, said the closure was because of road rectification works following the detection of a depression beneath the pedestrian walkway in Jalan Bukit... …

  • KLIA2 found up to the mark, says Hisham

    The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has found the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) to be safe and that it meets international standards, says Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.   He said ICAO had prepared a preliminary technical audit report on April 18 and it had been tabled to the cabinet yesterday.   "I think we are on track and it makes me proud to say that what we have promised the public - that KLIA2 will open as scheduled - will happen," he said …

  • Dropping Tony Pua from forum will cost BN youth support, says former MCA veep
    Dropping Tony Pua from forum will cost BN youth support, says former MCA veep

    A former MCA vice-president has spoken out against the move by the Malaysia Summit Australia (MASA) Conference to drop opposition lawmaker Tony Pua from the forum, saying that it would cost Barisan Nasional crucial support from youths. In a series of tweets, Gan Ping Sieu (pic) said barring opposition leaders from the Pakatan Rakyat pact would... …

  • Search for MH370 looks set for next phase, says report
    Search for MH370 looks set for next phase, says report

    After almost seven fruitless week of searching for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, international agencies involved in the hunt are negotiating how to manage the next phase of the operation, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said in a report. Malaysian and Australian officials are said to be hammering out a new agreement that will set out critical... …

  • Anwar says court was biased in his sodomy appeal
    Anwar says court was biased in his sodomy appeal

    Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said his sodomy conviction by the Court of Appeal should be overturned as the bench was prejudiced and biased against him. This was among 35 grounds of appeal in the opposition leader’s petition of appeal against his sodomy conviction and five-year jail sentence, filed at the Federal Court registry this afternoon by... …

  • Doctors balk at 'surgeon-assisted' hudud plan

    The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has expressed "shock" over a report that the Kelantan government will order surgeons to conduct amputations of limbs if it succeeds in implementing hudud. Its president, Dr NKS Tharmaseelan ( right ), said that amputating the limbs of criminals convicted under hudud is "against medical ethics and practice". He said that doctors have also been advised by the World Health Organisation not to witness or certify caning or whipping of criminals, and …

Several ministers are still living up the good life although Putrajaya is trimming its budget after asking Malaysians to tighten their belts and be thrifty in the face of rising living costs and subsidy cuts this year.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi hosted a “lavish” birthday bash at a five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur yesterday which his guests claimed was a New Year’s party.

Another minister had thrown a two-day wedding celebration for his child at another five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur last month, graced by royalty and VIPs who were entertained by a top Indonesian songstress.

Several pro-Umno bloggers have also questioned the Prime Minister's
Department over the need for two VIP jets after it was revealed that Putrajaya spent some RM180 million to maintain and operate government jets for official trips in 2012.

But yesterday's luncheon came after Putrajaya announced 11 measures to trim public spending, involving cuts to entertainment and transport allowances for ministers and top civil servants apart from freezing office renovation requests.

Receiving a tip-off about the luncheon, The Malaysian Insider visited the top hotel where guests and the birthday boy followed the party theme and were dressed in red.

Ahmad Zahid’s guests feasted on a buffet spread in the hotel’s grand ballroom while he mingled with them, including several civil servants who were invited through an email sighted by The Malaysian Insider.

The Umno vice-president smiled and shook hands with well-wishers after the party, while luxury cars with chauffeurs were lined up in front of the hotel, causing traffic to halt as Porsche Cayennes and Toyota Alphards parked by the roadside.

The Malaysian Insider tried to speak to Ahmad Zahid but was stopped by his bodyguards and told to leave or be escorted out.

It is not known who picked up the tab for Ahmad Zahid’s party, nor the reason for the red theme, but his guests were dressed in their finest with designer handbags and totes in their hands.

A guest told The Malaysian Insider that the party had celebrated two birthdays, Ahmad Zahid's and his grandchild which fell on the same day but also insisted that it was a New Year’s party as emblazoned on the stage backdrop.

Invitations were also sent out via email on Friday to selected employees from the Home Ministry. The email, titled “Celebration of home minister’s birthday”, also included a note to extend the invitation to cabinet and Umno Supreme Council members.

The lavish birthday party and opulent wedding of a minister's daughter and even Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's new government limousine come at a time when most Malaysians are grumbling about price hikes for electricity, food, fuel and even schooling costs.

Prices of fuel, sugar and electricity tariffs rose after Putrajaya cut back on its subsidies while public transport fares would be increased this year. The goods and services tax would also be introduced in 2015.

Government spending ballooned with this year’s budget up to RM264.2 billion from last year’s RM251.6 billion amid concerns that Putrajaya was not cutting back on expenses despite asking the public to do so.

A number of Malaysians had also poured scorn over Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's announcement on December 30 that Putrajaya would implement 11 austerity measures to cut spending in 2014.

Najib's economic czar, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar had even advised consumers to spend wisely and look for alternatives.

The former banker said that Malaysians have to be thrifty and live within their means.

"I go to the market every week. I know that the prices of basic necessities are high, but consumers have a choice in what they spend their money on," he was quoted as saying in a news report. – January 6, 2014.

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily news updates.

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer The Malaysian Insider
    MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer

    The partner of an American passenger aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has spoken about how a Fox executive who was recently sacked by the news station had contacted her offering to raise funds on her behalf. Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood is among the 239 people on board the missing plane, told the Sydney Morning Herald... …

  • My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh The Malaysian Insider
    My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh

    A week after the tragic crash that took the lives of veteran lawyer and politician Karpal Singh and his personal aide, Michael Cornelius, his son Ramkarpal recounts the final hours with his father that fateful day. This is his story, as told to V. Anbalagan, assistant news editor. “My parents (Karpal and Gurmit) had gone to Pantai Hospital... …

  • Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Dr Mahathir reminds current leaders The Malaysian Insider
    Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Dr Mahathir reminds current leaders

    Malaysian leaders have been reminded not to look down on the public’s capability to topple a corrupt government as what had happened in the Middle East during the Arab spring, warned Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic). In his latest blog posting today, the country’s longest serving prime minister said that monarchs and dictators in the Middle East... …