Pak Lah received RM70 mil in gifts as ‘golden handshake’: Dr Mahathir

Tokens of appreciation should usually amount to no more than cost of a Rolex, notes ex-PM

(The Vibes) – After recently targeting Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the latter’s purported request for a multi-million ringgit house and piece of land from the government, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today trained his guns at another former prime minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The Langkawi MP alleged that Abdullah, who succeeded him as the country’s prime minister in 2003, had received RM70 million worth of gifts from the government as a token of appreciation for his service to the nation.

Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat, Dr Mahathir, 96, said that while the practice of a “golden handshake” is not uncommon in the private sector, it usually amounts to the cost of a Rolex watch – far less than the millions of ringgit given to ex-prime ministers today.

“This is unlike the practice during the times of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, and Tun Hussein Onn. In those times, only an old house was given as a gift.

“But when it (the prime minister’s seat) reached Abdullah, I was informed he received a gift worth RM70 million. This is a huge amount, many times more than his salary as a prime minister,” he said when debating the royal address in the House.

Dr Mahathir said this was done without referring first to the lower House or any other legislation to determine the amount deemed appropriate as a gift, as was the case with Najib.

Najib received brickbats in November last year after it was revealed that he had requested for a plot of land and house valued at RM100 million under the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act 1980, after Barisan Nasional lost power in the 14th general election in 2018.

Following public denouncement, the Pekan MP announced on November 19 that he would not continue his application, and proposed that this special privilege also be cancelled for all future prime ministers.

Incidentally, Najib had taken over from Abdullah when the latter stepped down from the office in 2009.

Dr Mahathir, who is presently chairman and founder of Pejuang, said the gifting of tens of millions of ringgit to former leaders seems to show that the government can do as it pleases without taking into consideration the interests of the nation.

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