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KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad has today denied claims that he travelled to Saudi Arabia on a private jet, following a viral video clip showing his purported entourage enjoying the luxury.
In a statement on his social media accounts, Zulkifli said the private jet trip shown in the clip was instead just between Riyadh to Madinah, sponsored by the Muslim World League.
“Claims that I misused public money to take luxury flights there or en route is not true,” he said, adding that he took a Saudia Airlines commercial flight from Kuala Lumpur to Riyadh.
The Islamic affairs minister said the sponsored flight was ordered by Prince Faisal after finding out that he is also an alumnus of the Islamic University of Madinah.
Prince Faisal bin Salman Al Saud is the governor of Madinah.
He said he saw the act as a sign of respect from Saudi Arabia and the League towards Malaysia.
The video that went viral on social media showed Zulkifli’s entourage in the visit laughing and enjoying the luxurious private jet, taking photos of themselves posing inside the plane and showing its bedroom.
Zulkifli could be shown walking inside the plane in the video, but did not join the session.
Yesterday, Bernama’s video of Zulkifli and his entourage arriving in Madinah showed them embarking off an Airbus A319, which has a private jet version called corporate jet.
Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri (Hal Ehwal Agama) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri tiba di Madinah pada Ahad, sempena lawatan kerjanya ke Arab Saudi atas jemputan Liga Dunia Islam @drzul_albakri pic.twitter.com/aU1S7jEdhK— BERNAMA (@bernamadotcom) April 12, 2021
Zulkifli had arrived last week before departing to Madinah as part of his official visit to Saudi Arabia amid the Covid-19 pandemic, following Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s own trip last month.
Last month, Zulkifli said his visit was to get details on the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the coming season of haj pilgrimage.
He said the government would decide on the sending of Malaysians for the haj pilgrimage after getting the details on the SOP.