KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — Seputeh MP Teresa Kok today questioned why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has not answered how much was spent during his six-day official working visit to Japan in May.
“Why is Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri refusing to answer my question and report the cost of his official visit to the Parliament?
“Is this because the total cost of his official trip to Japan is higher than the total cost of then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s official visits during his five-year premiership which costs RM44.1 million?” Kok asked.
She said this after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Datuk Abdul Latiff Ahmad failed to give her a comprehensive answer for a detailed cost breakdown of the said visit during today’s Parliament Question Time.
In today’s parliamentary session, Kok requested the prime minister to state the number of government officials and private personnel who have followed him during the trip and to present a cost breakdown of the expenses which were paid by the government.
However, Abdul Latiff avoided Kok’s request and said that the prime minister’s visit to Japan from May 23 to 28 is a high-profile official event and the team included the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to East Asia (Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan), Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem.
He added that the greatest outcome of this visit between the highest leadership of both countries is the agreement to bring the tie between Japan and Malaysia from “Strategic Partnership” to “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”.
Kok then pointed out that Abdul Latiff completely ignored the questions that she asked, which is the “total amount of people that participated in the visit and the breakdown of the related cost”.
“I don’t understand why the PMO avoids answering my question related to the cost involved in his official trip to Japan when such questions have been asked towards former prime ministers.
“And it has been answered before in the Parliament,” she said.
Kok said the government must be transparent about government spending, including the cost of Cabinet members’ expenditure during their official overseas visits.
“Therefore, I urge the prime minister to answer my question in Parliament again and announce the total cost spent during his official visit to Japan to the media,” she said.