Thursday, March 10, 2011

PM skewered over expensive e-mails

DAP's Teresa Kok takes Najib to task for spending RM63,000 of public funds to spam Malaysians with his 'Salam 1Malaysia' email.

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP leader Teresa Kok has lambasted Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for spending RM63,000 to spam Malaysians with his “Salam 1Malaysia” e-mail.
In a statement this morning, Kok said she was stunned that Najib wasted taxpayers’ money in this manner and demanded an explanation.
During Chinese New Year, 1.25 million Malaysians of all races received Najib’s “Salam 1Malaysia” e-mail. Another 4 million received a similar greeting via text message (SMS).
Concern subsequently arose over the cost involved and whether this constituted a breach of privacy.
In a parliamentary written reply to a query on these two issues by Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan, the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday explained that the text messages did not incur any cost while the e-mail cost 5 sen per e-mail address.
The mobile numbers were obtained from three telecommunication companies namely Digi, Maxis and Celcom. The e-mail addresses meanwhile were acquired via Media Prima, the Ministry of Higher Education and Najib’s personal website
The Prime Minister’s Office also said that it had adhered to the privacy conditions of all companies involved and had no access to any of the receivers’ confidential information.
Kok, however, was unhappy with the explanation.
“For all his purported use of Twitter and Facebook, Najib is neither IT-savvy nor cost-savvy. If he was, he would have recognised the insanity of paying the exorbitant price of 5 sen per e-mail when the cost of sending e-mail is negligible,” she said.
“Furthermore, the cost of e-mail transmission does not multiply with every e-mail address added.
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This senseless spending is disgraceful but hardly shocking given the numerous cases of overpriced purchases, excessive spending and unfair contracts committed to by the government,” she added.
Kok also said this disclosure had raised questions as to which company profited from the “Salam 1Malaysia” project which allegedly had no open tender process.
According to her, upon clicking on the “Unsubscribe” link in the e-mail it appeared that the contract had been awarded to US-based Lyris Inc instead of a Malaysian company.
“I encourage all right-thinking Malaysians to click ‘Unsubscribe’ on Najib’s unsolicited ‘Salam 1Malaysia’ mailing list to save our taxpayers’ money and to send a strong message of protest against the excessive spending on his trite, hollow and insincere 1Malaysia message,” she said.
Kok also issued a sharp reminder to Najib that the budget allocated by the Finance Ministry to the Prime Minister’s Office was not his personal funds but taxpayers’ money which must be used to serve public interest.

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