KUALA LUMPUR – June 7, 2018: Legal action is being mulled against Pribumi Bersatu supreme council member Datuk Kadir Jasin over his erroneous article on the official expenses of the Agong.
While Kadir claimed that the previous government had allocated RM256.9 million from January 2017 to April 2018 to the Agong, a source familiar with the palace retorted that the actual expenses totalled only about 33 per cent of the figure alluded to.
In truth the expenses from December 2016 to April 2018 came to only RM79,284,717.50, with RM3 million allotted to buy dates and kuih Raya for the 2017 and 2018 open house.
If a suit is to be initiated by the Agong, legal experts agree that this can only be done via the Special Court but only with the consent of the attorney-general.
One lawyer said a suit against defamation doesn’t fit into this case while another argued that a suit for criminal defamation is possible.
Kadir, a former group editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times Group, had penned at his blog on Monday what many deemed to be a caustic article over the expenses.
According to him, these were for accommodation, personal items, aircraft use and transportation, training and security detail, gifts and souvenirs, overseas visits and salaries of palace staff.
Although Kadir did not disclose where he got the total from, the numbers he cited bore a striking resemblance to a viral screen grab of a so-called ledger of the Agong’s expenses for December 2016 to April 2018.
PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last night rapped Kadir for writing the article which the former claimed disparaged the Agong.
Anwar was of the view that Kadir should have shown more respect and decorum to a Ruler who protocol dictates cannot engage in a public spat over such an allegation.
“I’ve also seen some of the assertion and there are some major factual errors. We have worked very hard to get Malay Rulers to appreciate this new administration,” said Anwar.
Stressing that it was inappropriate of Kadir to publish the article given his image as someone close to the new Pakatan Harapan government, Anwar also stated that he will continue to meet with the Rulers to dispel Pakatan’s purported anti-monarchy stance.