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Friday, August 14, 2009

US$40,000 For 5 Local Flights! - Tony Phua

I'm not asking our Ministers to travel budget airlines like some of the Pakatan Rakyat leaders. But US$40,000 (or ~RM140,000) in expenses for 5 return local flights is just completely mind-boggling. Here are the details of the flights taken by MCA President and Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat:

Twice, travelling by jet G450:
12 Feb 2009 SZB/JB/KCH - ETD11am/12pm/5pm (Johor Bahru/Kuching)
19 Feb 2009 SZB/JB/SZB - ETD 730am/1030pm (Johor Bahru)

Thrice, travelling by Learjet60
7 Mac 2009 SZB/K'TAN/SZB - ETD12pm/10pm (Kuantan)
24 Mac 2009 SZB/JB/SZB - ETD 330pm10pm (Johor Bahru)
20 Apr 2009 SZB/JB/SZB - ETD 530pm/11pm (Johor Bahru)
Each return trip costs an average of US$8,000 or approximately RM28,000 or the annual salary of a worker paid RM2,000 per month with 2 months of bonus.

I think its disgusting and a sheer abuse of ministerial powers. And Ong Tee Keat has the cheek to tell the public that the flight company's bill hasn't been paid because the Ministry has not received the invoices. This also confirmed that Ong intends to pay for these flights using public funds.

But what is perhaps more interesting is whether Ong's excuse that the bills have not been paid due to the absence of invoice is valid. I'm certain that to book these flights an "order" must have been made via the Ministry? Was the order properly executed and documented and accounted for? Or was the excuse made only because Ong Tee Keat cannot possibly be implicated as having received such favours from the Port Klang Free Zone developer, Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd?

And how about Ong Tee Keat explaining whether he took these flights to carry out government business or private/party matters?

Are these the only private jet flights taken by Ong? Did he take private jets sponsored by generous donors as well to Beijing and Seoul this year?

Is there a Government directive that Ministers are not to take private jets?

There are a hundred and one questions we want to ask both Ong and Tiong now to find out more about their cosy relationship. And I'm certain we'll see more exciting things to come as more and more dirt get exposed.

But one thing for sure, I want to campaign for Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat to pay for the luxury flights costing some RM140,000 with his own money and not paid for by the rakyat!


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