Muhyiddin Yassin approved RM38.5 million renovations for Seri Perdana because he wanted to move into the prime minister’s official residence, Najib Razak said.
Najib said Muhyiddin was blaming him for the costly renovations to the Putrajaya property where Najib had resided when he was in office.
“Don’t use me as an excuse if it is your intention to spend RM38.5 million on (renovating Seri Perdana) at a time when people are told that the government didn’t have much money to assist them,” Najib said on social media today.
He was responding to Muhyiddin’s explanation for why the official residence of the prime minister had to be renovated.
Muhyiddin said he did not live in Seri Perdana during his time as premier to allow renovation and repair works to be done.
He had also claimed that chandeliers and furniture were among things that were removed from Seri Perdana when Najib vacated the residence following Barisan Nasional’s defeat in the 2018 general election.
“The chandelier and other furniture there were said to be owned by the sixth prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak). When I was the prime minister, I said I did not care since that is his right.
“So, I left it to the Prime Minister’s Department to give approval for him to remove items from there,” Muhyiddin said.
He added that he was unsure if there was any inventory of the items made as it was not his responsibility.
On Facebook, Najib said he was not given much time to leave Seri Perdana.
He said he and his family were only given “a few hours” to leave Seri Perdana “because the seventh prime minister”, alluding to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, believed that there were many secrets stored there.
To claim the furniture and other belongings that were left behind in the hurry, Najib said in August 2018, he wrote a letter to the Prime Minister’s Department asking for approval to retrieve them.
He said his letter was not answered.
He repeated the request in August 2019.
But it was only in October 2020 that the Prime Minister’s Department responded and allowed him to recover his things.
That was on the condition he could prove that he had purchased them, and they were not government assets.
Najib said the list of items he submitted to the PMD was checked and approved.
“I was given two weeks to complete the removal before December 3, 2020,” he said.
It was while his staff were removing the items that they were told by the new Sri Perdana manager that the property would be renovated and why.
He said the “real reason” for the renovation, including expanding the kitchen because it was considered too small, was that Muhyiddin ordered the work because “he wanted to move in there”.
The manager, Najib said, is believed to be a relative of Muhyiddin.
“That’s the real story,” Najib said on Facebook.
He said the “old furniture” that he removed from Seri Perdana were still kept in a warehouse because “I am still happy with the furniture in my house”.
“They have not been used at all since.”
He said if the government wants them, he would give them for free.
“Just get in touch with my officer and come to the warehouse to choose,” he said.
The cost of the renovations to the prime minister’s official residence had come under heavy criticism with many questioning why Muhyiddin had spent so much money on himself while the country’s economy was battered by the pandemic.