In a written reply to Anthony Lok (DAP-Seremban) in the Dewan Rakyat, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said refused to reveal the cost incurred during Najib’s trip to the US in September.
Azalina said whatever the prime minister spent on the trip was in accordance with the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act 1980 as well as his allowances and perks.
“The expenses included the cost of airfare, accommodation, transport, meal allowances, laundry and telephone, among others.
“Expenditure by the prime minister and members of his delegation follows the rates prescribed from time to time,” she said.
The actual breakdown or total costs were not provided.
Loke had asked for the details of the cost of accommodation in Trump International Hotel, which is owned by US President Donald Trump and located near the White House in Washington.
Speaking to reporters, Loke said Azalina’s reply appeared to be an attempt to conceal the costs of the accommodation for Najib and his delegation.
According to Loke, room rates at the Trump hotel were very high, with suites costing more than RM20,000 a night.
“Apart from the cost factor, the issue is why the prime minister’s delegation chose to stay at Trump International Hotel knowing that it belongs to Trump.
“This is not a question of Najib deliberately seeking to curry favour with Trump but an issue of conflict of interest because the American president is prohibited by law from having any personal financial interest related to foreign leaders he meets,” Loke said
Loke questioned whether the government was reluctant to divulge the cost of the accommodation because it was unjustifiably high, and could anger Malaysians.