Graft probe after Malaysian wedding

2012-10-05 18:15

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Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia's anti-graft body is investigating the wedding of a top official's son - attended by around 130 000 people - after opposition politicians questioned the celebration's funding.

The wedding on Sunday of Ridhwan Ali, 26, eldest son of Ali Rustam, chief minister of the southern state of Malacca, reportedly lasted eight hours and made it into the Malaysia Book of Records for its massive turnout.

Opposition politicians have since questioned whether state funds were used for the event, and several of them lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

A senior commission official confirmed to AFP on Friday that an investigation had been launched.

The minister has been quoted in local media defending the traditional Malay ceremony, saying food had cost about 600 000 ringgit ($200 000) - and not 13 million ringgit as senior opposition politician Lim Kit Siang had speculated.

"[The opposition] should not be jealous of the huge crowd... The wedding was my own family arrangement and has nothing to do with the state government," Ali was quoted as saying by The Star daily newspaper.

His aide MS Mahadevan reportedly said earlier this week that 500 people had volunteered to help out at the event free of charge.

"This is the first wedding ceremony for the chief minister's family and every Malaccan wanted to take part... Even estate workers wearing slippers stood in line to shake hands with the bride and bridegroom," he said.

But opposition politicians, who frequently allege corruption and the misuse of government funds in Malaysia, condemned the celebration.

"Forte of UMNO leaders - after 55 years in power," Lim tweeted on the day of the wedding, referring to Ali's United Malays National Organisation, which has ruled the country since independence in 1957.

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