Muhyiddin: I approved police Istanbul trip but not aware of business class flight

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (seated, second left) speaks to reporters during a press conference at the General Operations Forces (PGA) camp in Semenyih February 12, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (seated, second left) speaks to reporters during a press conference at the General Operations Forces (PGA) camp in Semenyih February 12, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

SEMENYIH, Feb 12 — Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today confirmed that he had given the green light for a recent police work trip to Istanbul, Turkey, attended by mostly senior officers and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun himself.

He explained the Totalisator Department of Malaysia, a body under the Ministry of Finance, had partially sponsored the trip for the men in blue.

“I gave approval for the trip on the principle it was applied for by the IGP but I was not informed on who, how, or how many were going,” he said when reporters questioned about the police group travelling in business class flights as alleged by Sarawak Report (SR).

“It had later come to my knowledge the Totalisator department had sponsored some costs of the trip,” he said after visiting the General Operations Forces (PGA) camp here this afternoon.

Muhyiddin explained the main of objective of the trip was for the police to gather knowledge on new illegal online gambling schemes and tactics.

“I gave my approval because I felt the issue of online gambling is a problem and needs to be tackled.

“They went there to learn skills from other countries on how to tackle the problem of online gambling,” he said.

SR on February 10 reported at least 16 high ranking officers travelled to Istanbul for a work trip and the online news portal estimated that RM312,441 could have been spent on just business class flights and hotels for the group.

According to SR, among those who accompanied the IGP were Bukit Aman Criminal Investigations Department director Commissioner Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin, and Narcotics Criminal Investigations Department director Commissioner Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh, and several other top brass.

The report also claimed the senior officers stayed at a four-star hotel at the heart of the city known for its luxurious facilities, and was a prime sightseeing location.

Muhyiddin later also denied the intercontinental trip was a form of reward for the senior officers for their service to the police force. 

“No, we don’t do these things. It is up to the sponsor and the board, and they were sent there on that arrangement,” he said.