It was reported earlier today in Malaysiakini that Tun Abdullah Badawi said that his NGO, Landskap Malaysia, paid for his trip to Paris ‘with some help’ from other sources.
For the interest of transparency, Tun Abdullah should answer the following questions:
(i) How much did the Malaysian government pay for the flight tickets, hotel rooms and car rentals of Tun Abdullah’s delegation?
According to records which I obtained, Tun Abdullah’s delegation comprised of himself and his wife, Tun Jeanne Abdullah and 9 other individuals including his personal physician, Datuk Dr Aizai Azan Abdul Rahim, his aide-de-camp, Supt Mohd Khairi bin Khairudin, and two bodyguards. Interestingly, according to the records which I obtained, which gives the rooming list and rental car arrangements for Tun Abdullah delegation, the hotel and car rental payments for two individuals in the delegation, Dzulkifli David Abdullah and Dr Dzaeman Dzulkifli David, were labelled as “personal payments.” These two individuals were also labelled as being ‘personal friends of Former PM’ (Refer to Appendix 1 and 2 below).
According to the website of Landskap Malaysia, Dzulkifli David Abdullah is listed as a member of the Board of Governors of the NGO and Dr Dzaeman Dzulkifli is listed as an alternate Board of Governor member. This seems to indicate that Landskap Malaysia paid for the hotel and rental car expenses of its two Board of Governor members while the expenses of the rest of Tun Abdullah’s delegation were paid for by the Malaysian government.
Tun Abdullah’s delegation stayed at Hotel Marriot Champs Elysees, a 5 star hotel in the heart of Paris. According to the records obtained, Tun Abdullah and Tun Jeanne booked a vice-presidential suit while the rest of his delegation booked 5 deluxe rooms and 1 twin sharing.
A quick search on the Hotel Marriot Champs Elysees indicates that the rate for a Suite is RM3725 per night for the month of January while the rate for a Deluxe room is RM1774 per night. The total rental for Tun Abdullah’s suite for one week would have been RM22350 while the total rental for the deluxe room is RM10644. ((This is probably an understatement since the hotel rates would have been higher during the UN Climate Change conference)
The records also indicate that Tun Abdullah rented a Mercedez Benz S500 for one week and his delegation rented a Mercedez Viano (MPV) for one week. A quick check on one of the car rental websites shows that the rental cost for one week for a Mercedez Benz SUV is Euro3586 (RM16854) while the rental cost for one week for a MPV Mercedez Viao is Euro2523 (RM11858).
The total estimated cost for hotel rooms and car rentals comes up to approximately RM115,000 (not including flight tickets). Was this the ‘help’ which Tun Abdullah referred to in his remarks to the Malaysiakini reporter earlier today?
(ii) If the Malaysian government did pay for all or a significant portion of the expenses of Tun Abdullah’s delegation to Paris, what exactly was achieved by this delegation during that one week?
There is nothing wrong with the Malaysian government footing the bill of Tun Abdullah and his delegation if there were in Paris to participate in the Climate Change conference or a side event in ways that would be of benefit to Malaysia. For example, Tun Abdullah and his delegation may have been in Paris to ask for funding from developed countries or foundations in developed countries to help preserve forests and jungles in Malaysia. For the sake of transparency, Tun Abdullah should disclose the exact purpose of his visit to Paris and the outcomes which were achieved as a result of this visit.
At a time when many Malaysians have to cut down on their everyday expenses because of rises in the cost of living, the Malaysian taxpayer should not be funding expensive trips or holidays abroad for politicians in ways which do not seem to benefit Malaysia in any direct or indirect way.
 Excluding the hotel and car rental for the two members of the BoG of Landskap Malaysia
 Excluding twin sharing room of the members of the BoG of Landskap Malaysia