Mahathir Mohamad Abdullah Badawi Prime Minister government gift Pak Lah
Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

By Manzaidi Mohd Amin

KUALA LUMPUR – The Member of Parliament (MP) of Langkawi, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad dragged his former counterpart into his Dewan Rakyat debate this morning.

He stated that he did not agree with the government for giving RM70 million in gift to the Fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia after his retirement. According to him, the government needs to adhere to the law when it comes to giving high value gifts to former Prime Ministers.

He also took himself as an example, despite serving for 22 years as the Prime Minister (1981 – 2003), he did not receive or took a single cent from the government when he retired.

On the contrary, the fourth Prime Minister said that he offered to buy a piece of land which the government wanted to give him after he retired.

“I admit that I am also a former Prime Minister, but I did not take a single cent in gift. Perhaps I did not have contribution, not enough to get a gift.

“But I admit that there was an offer to give me a piece of land… I rejected it and on the contrary, I offered to buy that land. I did not get it for free,” he said.

Dr Mahathir, as the chief of party was given 20 minutes to debate and he attracted the attention of the Dewan Rakyat by questioning the law practiced by the current government.

“The constitution determines the law and anything that contradicts the constitution cannot be approved. What happens now is as if the government does not respect the constitution at all. It also does not respect the law approved by this hall during the debate and such.

“What we can see now is that the government seems to have more power than the constitution. They can do anything without referring to the hall. One of the cases is on the gift to former Prime Ministers,” he said.

He also explained the differences between the era of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Hussein Onn, where, they were only given an old house as a gift for their contribution as the Prime Minister.

“However, when it comes to Abdullah, we found that the gift is RM70 million. This is a huge figure, hundreds time of the salary paid to the Prime Minister while he was still serving.

“The RM70 million was also given and done without referring to the Dewan Rakyat or any law that could determine the value of the gift.

“And, we also hear that when the sixth Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) retired, he wrote a letter to the government to appreciate his contribution by giving him RM100 million,” he alleged.

According to Mahathir, Najib applied for the RM100 million through an RM60 million building and RM40 million in cash.

“There is no providence in the law that says, such huge sum can be given to a former Prime Minister. This is an action above the law. It is not in the law.”

“However, based on the consideration and the little power that the government has, they agreed that a gift should be given to the former Prime Ministers who retired as an appreciation for their contribution to the country.

“Meanwhile, we also determined that the gift is not massive. If we look at the private sector, they also give gifts to their officers who contributed towards the development of their company, perhaps, a Rolex watch. That’s all as a token of appreciation,” he said.

Mahathir also said that the current practice was not practiced by the government in the past. -MalaysiaGazette

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