Najib's exec jet cost taxpayers $13m in six months: PKR leader

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's new executive jet has cost taxpayers RM40 million (S$13 million) in just six months, an opposition lawmaker has alleged.

Mr Rafizi Ramli, who is also secretary-general of the main opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), told reporters yesterday that between April and last month, the government paid RM13.3 million for rental, RM23 million for operations, maintenance and management, and RM4.5 million for flights.

He said he arrived at the figures based on Datuk Seri Najib's past travel records, as well as maintenance fees for the RM465 million Airbus ACJ320, The Malaysian Insider reported.

"If these figures are not correct, I welcome the government to give the actual figures," Mr Rafizi was quoted by news site Malaysiakini as saying at a press conference at the Parliament lobby. "If not, we will assume that these figures are correct."

The government had refused to disclose details of expenses related to the jet in a parliamentary question posed by Mr Rafizi.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said disclosed only that the jet had flown 42 times between April and last month, ferrying the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Mr Najib and his deputy on official functions, The Malaysian Insider said.

It quoted Mr Rafizi as saying the government was not sharing details of the expenses for fear of a public backlash amid the rising cost of living.

Mr Rafizi had alleged in March that the government had overpaid RM109 million for the jet, and spent RM28 million renovating its already lavish interior.

Another opposition MP, Mr Liew Chin Tong of PKR ally Democratic Action Party, called for the government to disclose the expenditure for all its six executive jets.

"They have six jets, and if this is the amount of expenditure for one jet, and that too for only half a year, we would like to know the costs for all the jets," Mr Liew said, according to The Malaysian Insider.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2015, with the headline 'Najib's exec jet cost taxpayers $13m in six months: PKR leader'. Print Edition | Subscribe