Thursday, May 01, 2008

Another Pak Lah's Wasteful and Costly Trip to The Middle East?

I read this small report in NST today:

Dewan Rakyat: RM790,000 spent on jets
THE government spent RM792,325.20 for the use of executive jets by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak between Feb 24 and March 7.

That means during the election campaigning period, both 'caretaker' PM and DPM had abused our money for BN's campaign trips all over the country. They spent RM60,769 per day. Can this be used as a solid evidence for abuse of power?
The opposition should ask the detailed itinerary and purpose on every trip during this period.

Pak Lah is now in Kuwait to attend the fourth World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF). This WIEF organiser (affiliated to ASLI) is based in Malaysia, web site here. Tun Musa Hitam is the chairman. Never heard of it until today, but all these connections make me smell rats.

WIEF is not a major event and most UAE papers have only mentioned about WIEF as:-

Al Mansouri leads UAE team to Islamic Economic Forum
Staff report

Published: May 01, 2008, 00:45
Dubai: A UAE delegation headed by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, is participating in the fourth World Islamic Economic Forum, which opened in Kuwait City on Tuesday.
The delegation also includes Khalid Ganem Al Gaith, assistant undersecretary for economic affairs and international cooperation; along with other officials from the Ministry of Economy and various interested parties.

UAE has only sent a Minister of Economy!

According to Bernama:

Abdullah Attends Islamic Economic Forum In Kuwait
From Muin Abdul Majid
KUWAIT CITY, May 1 (Bernama) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi arrived here Wednesday night to attend the fourth World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF).Abdullah will deliver a speech at the WIEF closing ceremony at a leading hotel Thursday.

He will also call on Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah at the Bayan Palace. The Malaysian leader is also scheduled to receive a courtesy call from a special envoy of the Indonesian president, Irman Gusman.

Indonesia will host the fifth edition of WIEF, a forum aimed at enhancing business linkages and investment in the Muslim world, next year.Abdullah will leave for Mecca later in the day to
perform the "umrah" (minor haj).

This is the prime minister's first trip overseas after Malaysia's 12th general election on March 8 which saw the Barisan Nasional coalition returned to power.-- BERNAMA

The 12th Dewan Rakyat's session has started and Pak Lah will be performing umrah with his wife and delegation. Who is paying this umrah trip?

Another UAE paper reports on Malaysia calls for more investment from UAE. Last trip by Pak Lah to UAE was in 2004 as a new PM. How serious is Malaysia in getting investments from UAE?

While going to Kuwait for this lowly event or on the way to or return from umrah, it is better for Pak Lah to fly and meet with UAE's Vice-President and PM, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum in Dubai or meet the President, Sheikh Khalifah himself whom he did not manage to meet during his first (and last) visit.

Read my previous entry The Arabs SKIP Malaysia For Singapore and China for better understanding why Pak Lah should be here than Kuwait or Makkah.
Malaysia calls for more investment from UAE

Malaysia's trade commissioner in Dubai has said investment and trade with the UAE has grown – especially in Malaysia's real estate sector – and he called for more investment in the country's private sector.
Noraslan Hadi Abdul Kadir, trade commissioner at the consulate, said the majority of the investment from the Gulf has been in the country's Johor state.
Real estate purchases, he added, make up the bulk of the capital in-flow and have picked up since the launch of the "Malaysia my second home" initiative, which allows foreign nationals to buy property. Owners are then extended a renewable 10-year visa. Since its launch in 1996, the "Malaysia my second home" programme has attracted more than 10,000 foreign buyers.
Abdul Kadir also provided a general overview of trade between the two nations. The UAE is currently Malaysia's biggest commercial partner in Western Asia and its 17th largest overall. Meanwhile, Malaysia is the 10th largest exporter to the UAE.
Products topping the export list to the UAE in 2007 from Malaysia included jewellery (Dh3.645 billion), palm oil (Dh948 million), timber (Dh769.2m) and electronic appliances (Dh561.5m).
The same year, Malaysia imported crude oil (Dh2.53bn), refined oil products (Dh1.02bn), metal industries (Dh519m) and chemicals (Dh147.8m) from the UAE. With the GCC as a whole, commercial trade in 2006 grew by 31 per cent, compared to just 3.6 per cent in 2005.
And by the end of August 2008, four GCC investment companies – Kuwaiti Finance House, Mubadala Development, Al Dar Properties and Millennium International Development Company – have said they will invest $2.2bn (Dh8bn) in a project in Johor state.


yatim said...

The PM has made so many world tours for the last 5 years. No one knows what was the benefit of these trips to Malaysia. The Americans and Europeans make it a point to meet Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Khalifah at every opportunity. The M'sian PM is more interested on his self pleasure trips rather than economic benefits to the country. After the Port Klang Free Zone fiasco with Dubai Port, he shd have taken extra effort to meet the Rulers of the Emirates. Too bad we have such a inefficient and ineffective PM.

Zawi said...

YB Lim Kit Siang correctltly pointed out that the PM was rarely in Parliament and when he was there they can't pose any supplementary question after the main question which could have been a prepared question.
Now he has run off to such a lowly event just to be away from Parliament.
Thanks for the timely expose. Hope those dunces in UMNO will be able to decide correctly on who should be PM in their coming AGM in December.