Rafidah: Nation’s image rests with Sri Perdana’s occupants, not RM30m renovations

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The RM30 million spent on renovating the prime minister’s official residence Sri Perdana in Putrajaya has failed to impress Rafidah Aziz.

Without mincing words, the former minister dismissed it as “a complete waste of public funds”.

She was also not convinced by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s explanation that the renovations were essential to preserve the nation’s image.

According to her, the task of safeguarding Malaysia’s image rests with Sri Perdana’s occupants, and not the building.

“The nation’s image is not reflected by the buildings, residences, and structures reflecting position and authority.

“It is reflected by the occupants of those buildings, by their good values, principles, integrity, honesty, high sense of responsibility, accountability, humility, and putting nation before self.

“To spend RM30 million on renovations for the sake of ‘image’ is almost a crime. A complete waste of public funds,” she added in a statement this afternoon.

In a parliamentary reply, Ismail Sabri said the works were also done to ensure the safety of the building.

The renovations encompassed electrical wiring and mechanical work, the air-conditioning system and structural modifications to the official residential block.

He added that old and dilapidated furniture was replaced to preserve the status of the official residence, which was constructed in 1999 during Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first tenure as prime minister.

The prime minister said 60 percent of the renovation work had been completed as of Aug 31.

Ismail Sabri was responding to Pakatan Harapan MP Mahfuz Omar who questioned spending the exorbitant sum when the people are struggling to cope with the economic situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Hannah Yeoh (PH-Segambut) said her questions to the Prime Minister for the cost of renovations for offices for all Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers were left unanswered.

Instead, Yeoh said, she was given an answer to the renovation cost of the offices of two Cabinet Ministers and two Deputy Ministers under the Prime Minister’s Department between 2020 and 2021, amounting to more than RM1 million.

Yeoh said she did not spend a single sen to renovate her office when serving under the Pakatan Harapan administration.