Wednesday November 19, 2008 - The Star
RM10mil spent on open housesTEN Barisan Nasional MPs spent almost RM10mil to organise open houses and celebrations in their respective constituencies during festive seasons last year, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum.
The 10 constituencies, which spent as much as RM900,000 each, were Tenom with 58 events followed by Dungun (87), Putatan (86), Tawau (66), Silam (40), Kuala Nerus (248), Sepanggar (54), Kuala Terengganu (304), Parit (137) and Marang (186).
In a written reply to Tan Kok Wai (DAP – Cheras) Mohd Johari said the Tenom constituency recorded the highest average per function at RM17,042.
It spent RM988,475 to organise 58 functions while the lowest average cost per function was by Kuala Terengganu with RM3,018.
Tan had asked the Prime Minister to state the cost and number of open houses during festive seasons such as Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Gawai Dayak, Christmas, Good Friday, Wesak and for Merdeka celebrations by MPs in their respective constituencies using the special parliamentary allocation.
Johari said 196 Barisan Nasional MPs had used the special allocation and that the money was spent on food, drinks, rental of tents and equipment, and donations to the poor, orphans and the disabled and other related services.
When met, Tan said it was extravagant and lavish and demanded that the MPs explain themselves.
“In everybody’s mind, the special allocation should be spent on small projects but instead they use it to spend on feasts,” he said.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, in another written reply, said total expenditure for 105 of Malaysia’s missions from June 2004 to June 30 this year was RM1.36bil.
In a written reply, he said there were 440 ministry staff stationed in offices in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and the South Pacific.
Teo Nie Ching (DAP – Serdang) asked how many staff members were in its missions including the locations and operation costs incurred by all its overseas offices.