PMO denies picking up engagement dinner bill for Najib’s daughter
KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — Putrajaya has denied that public funds were used to pay for the engagement dinner of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s daughter as alleged by PKR earlier today.
The Prime Minister’s Office said on micro-blogging site Twitter that it did not cover the cost of Nooryana Najwa’s engagement at the Seri Perdana official residence of the PM last year.
“The engagement bill of PM’s daughter, Nooryana Najwa, was not taken up by the Prime Minister’s Office as alleged by some quarters. The Prime Minister’s Office will issue a statement regarding the allegation soon,” it said this evening.
In the two-paragraph statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said the event was paid for personally by the Prime Minister and his family.
“PKR’s strategic director Rafizi Ramli should apologise for his allegations, which are false, defamatory and a deliberate smear on the Prime Minister’s reputation.
“No public funds were used to meet the costs of his daughter’s engagement reception, which was paid for personally by the Prime Minister and his family,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Rafizi had showed reporters earlier today a banquet event order from a local hotel as proof of his claim that the prime minister spent RM409,767 on the June 17, 2011 event to celebrate his daughter’s engagement to Daniyar Nazarbayev from Kazakhstan.
This comprised a bill of RM18,792 for 36 VIPs — who were served Wagyu beef and marinated scallops — RM309,975 for 862 guests and RM81,000 for handling costs.
Copies of the purported banquet event order distributed by Rafizi showed that the dinner was charged to the Prime Minister’s Office.
“PKR’s strategic director Rafizi Ramli should apologise for his allegations, which are false, defamatory and a deliberate smear on the Prime Minister’s reputation,” it said.
But Rafizi had said that even though he was unsure if Najib had repaid the cost of the dinner to the PMO, he stressed that the prime minister should not have used his high office to arrange the closed-door private function in the first place.
“And even if he has reimbursed it, we want to know where he got the money. That’s a lot, almost half a million for an engagement dinner,” he pointed out.