The RM30 million renovation of Seri Perdana Complex, the Prime Minister's official residence in Putrajaya, is said to be essential to improve the safety of the living spaces and uphold the country's image
In a parliamentary written reply dated 27 September, it was explained that the renovation of the Seri Perdana Complex is currently ongoing.
As of 31 August, the progress of the renovation is at 60%.
"Renovation or upgrading of this residence must be implemented after taking into account the safety factors of the Prime Minister as well as ensuring the image of the country while welcoming the country's key guests in the official programmes of the Prime Minister," the reply read.
"The renovation covers key scopes such as the improvement of electrical wiring, mechanical and air conditioning systems, and structural renovation in the Official Residential Block, as well as the replacement of worn and dilapidated official furniture that fit the official residence status of the Prime Minister of Malaysia."
The explanation is in response to Pokok Sena member of Parliament (MP) Datuk Mahfuz Omar's query of the untimely extravagant spending
"What is the justification for this lavish project while the rakyat is at war and affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. What components and scope are involved?" asked the MP aligned with Pakatan Harapan (PH).
The reply did not acknowledge the untimely spending in the parliamentary written reply.
In a statement today, 29 September, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Datuk Dr Abd Latiff Ahmad clarified that the written parliamentary reply is penned by him, not Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He added that the residence needed restoration work as it was built 22 years ago and has many defects.
The total cost for the renovation and restoration work is RM38.5 million and is expected to complete in early December.
Many MPs have since criticised the Prime Minister for the RM30 million renovation, with some calling the project a waste of money
In a tweet yesterday, 28 September, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman questioned why the government is wasting money on upgrading official offices and residences.
"People are in hardship, hunger, and sick! Thousands of businesses have to close, people are bankrupt, students cannot pay university fees. Help them lah!" said the independent MP.
Meanwhile, Kubang Pasu MP Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah said it was unnecessary to spend "such a huge amount" on renovation when the money could be better spent on the COVID-19 battle, reported The Star.
"It's really insensitive for such expenditure to be made during the present situation when the rakyat is struggling to make ends meet," the MP aligned with Pejuang told reporters outside Parliament yesterday.
He is surprised that "security" and "image" were used to justify the spending.
Separately, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said she did not get a response in the past when she asked how much was spent on renovating Cabinet Ministers' and Deputy Ministers' offices.
Instead, 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, which cost more than RM1 million.
Both Yeoh and Amiruddin said they did not spend a single sen upgrading their offices while they were under the PH administration.
According to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) website, the Seri Perdana Complex was built in 1997 and it spans about 171,991sqm — approximately 32 football fields in size
The official residence of the premier is used for welcoming heads of state, heads of government, state dignitaries, and the public.
The residence supposedly "belongs to the people", hence, Protocol Block and Banquet Block are some of the areas open to the public.
Below is a video of the residence, published on PMO's YouTube Channel in November 2019:
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