Be more prudent in spending, leave your jet at home, DAP tells Najib

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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been urged to ditch the state executive jet and travel in first class on his official trips overseas to cut government spending.

The call was made by Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Taiping) who said Najib must emulate his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong who travels in first class.

"From 2010 to 2013, the government paid RM86.4 million in rent for Najib's executive jet," Nga told reporters in Parliament today.

He said in addition, RM16.515 million was spent on maintenance of the jets.

"In total, RM100.47 million was forked out for Najib's jet in only three years," he added.

He said in addition to the cost of the jet, a whopping RM42 million was spent annually on Najib's foreign trips since 2008.

"Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng also travels but opts for economy-class seats. Najib needs to take the cue from Lee and Lim," Nga said, adding that Najib should consider flying first class on Malaysia Airlines (MAS).

He said with Malaysia facing a national debt of RM516.3 billion, the Barisan Nasional (BN) government needs to be more careful in its expenditure.

He said that this year, Putrajaya was forced to table twice the supplementary budget in the Parliament owing to the country's tight financial situation, with the deficit standing at RM69.2 billion.

"The Prime Minister's Department now has eight ministers and 80,000 staffers, making it the department with the most number of employees with an emolument and salary payout exceeding RM4 billion a year," Nga added.

He said it was therefore important for Najib to be thrifty.

Nga revealed that according to a reply from Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, the details of the government's expenditure on the executive jet between 2010 and 2012 was as follows: RM80.4 million on leasing costs, RM16.5 million on maintenance and RM3.32 million on upgrade.

The expense involved routine scheduled maintenance according to specifications set by the Department of Civil Aviation.

Nga had asked the government to state the expenses incurred in the purchase or lease as well as the maintenance of the jet used by the prime minister between 2000 and this year.

When approached by reporters at the Parliament lobby today, Shahidan said Najib's jet was one of seven government executive jets designated for use by the King and the prime minister.

He said that maintenance was also crucial for the jets to ensure the safety of leaders.

"Our prime minister has to be in Kuala Lumpur by 2pm, Alor Setar by 3pm, Ipoh by 6pm. Is there any local airline which can provide that kind of first-class service?" he asked.

Shahidan also said he did not wish to make comparisions between Malaysia and Singapore.

"Singapore's president takes first-class flights? Where does he want to go?" he asked. - October 3, 2013.

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