No decision yet on Najib’s gifts, govt says

The application for the gift was made after the tabling of Budget 2022, and therefore isn’t listed under allocation

pic by TMR FILE

THE Cabinet ministers have yet to decide on a RM100 million gift in forms of land or a property to former prime minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (picture).

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz said the application for the gift was made after the tabling of Budget 2022.

“The application was made after the budget presentation. That is why the item is not listed under the budget allocation,” Tengku Zafrul told Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

“This application is still not approved when the budget was tabled. If there is expenditure after that we will make it in the Supplementary Supply Bill,” he added.

Tengku Zafrul said this in response to a query from Langkawi MP Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who sought clarification on the gift, purportedly requested by Najib to the government.

“The gift is apparently for his contribution as PM. What is his contribution? Are we now rewarding the thief?” Dr Mahathir said.

A news portal reported last week that Najib had requested a 1.13ha residential property worth RM100 million in one of Kuala Lumpur’s (KL) most exclusive neighbourhoods.

According to a MalaysiaNow report, the request received objections by the ministers and senior officials.

Najib, who is currently appealing his conviction on corruption charges involving RM42 million in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case, reportedly made the request in 2019.

Additionally, Tengku Zafrul also said that the question on this issue should be directed to the PM’s Department.

“I would like to suggest any questions in this regard to the PM’s Department. This is because the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) 1980 falls under the jurisdiction of the PM,” he said.

The issue caused quite a commotion in the August House, prompting speaker Tan Sri Azhar Harun to issue a warning against Jelutong MP.

“The minister has clarified that this matter is not under the budget. So, it’s not even a matter of budget,” said Azhar.

Budget 2022 was passed at the policy stage yesterday as 13 Opposition MPs from Parti Pejuang Tanahair, Parti Warisan and Malaysian United Democratic Alliance who were in favour of opposing the voice vote did not have enough number to trigger a bloc vote.

Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) presidential council meanwhile said it has unanimously decided to continue talks with the government on Budget 2022.

The coalition said as it could not reach a consensus with the government on several issues pertaining to the next year allocation, PH would pursue voice votes instead.

“For the Budget 2022 approval process at the committee level, which begins on Monday, Nov 22, PH will continue to play the check-and-balance role, and fight for the rights of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, gender or region,” it said.

PH stressed the need for increased budget allocations for Sabah, Sarawak and Malaysians facing problems due to the Covid-19 pandemic and economic recession.

“Even though we appreciate the need to control the budget’s deficit, it is necessary to spend courageously to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, assist businesses and the people,” the coalition added.

The Budget 2022 was tabled on Oct 29 with the record high of RM332.1 billion.

The vote on the Supply Bill 2022 is expected to be carried out after the last five ministries wind up their debate on the bill on Monday.