DAP's Anthony Loke (pic, right) and PKR's Azmin Ali took Najib Razak to task after the latter dismissed criticism over the exorbitant bill which was revealed in Parliament recently.
Najib had said the amount was “unavoidable” as he had to entertain heads of government at his official residence in Putrajaya.
"How to avoid such expenses? That is not my residence but the prime minister's residence. If heads of government come, are we supposed to dine in the dark?
“If the Chinese prime minister comes, are we to dine by candlelight? I would say, that is romantic," he said, poking fun at his critics.
Loke, who had been given the parliamentary reply by the Prime Minister's Department on the amount, said the excuse was "unjustified".
"We are not saying that he should dine in the dark. He can switch on whatever lights he wants for that particular function. But how many heads of governments visit Seri Perdana ever year?" he questioned.
"Don't tell me that we have to host heads of government at Seri Perdana every single night. I know for a fact that some these events took place during the day.
"So we didn't need to spend that kind of money," he said.
Azmin described the PM's remarks a "show of arrogance in power" by the Barisan Nasional leadership.
"This is a serious issue and the PM is trying to insult the intelligence of taxpayers and the rakyat. He has to be more serious as it involves huge amount of taxpayers money.
"They just don't care about the issues and the plight of the rakyat. People are suffering now, they need strong and credible leadership to ensure that every single sen of their money is spent wisely," the PKR deputy president said.
Loke meanwhile pointed out that Najib, who initiated a campaign to save electricity in government departments, had failed to lead by example.
"Perhaps he has forgotten about the campaign to reduce electricity bills by 10% and fix the air-conditioning temperature at 24 degrees Celcius.
"This shows the government is not walking the talk. Najib should have immediately instructed the person in charge of electricity at his official residence to do something about it, instead of making fun about it," he added.
Loke said it was disappointing that the PM dismissed the high bill as a "petty matter", saying RM2.2 million was an amount that the average citizen could never earn in a lifetime.
"For him, it might be small. But it is a huge amount for most Malaysians.
"The PM has said that those who evade taxes are traitors. Let me just remind him also that those who are corrupt and waste taxpayers' money can also be labelled as traitors," he stressed.
Muslim NGO Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) yesterday reminded Najib that being extravagant with public money is also a form of treason.
Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman, said as leaders entrusted with managing public funds, they were dutybound to be prudent in managing revenue collected from taxes. - November 26, 2013.