Rosmah Mansor had to use a private jet for her trip to Istanbul due to her tight schedule, said her aide Rizal Mansor.
He said this in response to PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli who questioned the need for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s wife to use a private jet to receive the 3G Children Welfare Award on behalf of Permata.
"The prime minister's wife had to spend 13 hours for her trip to Istanbul to accept the award and deliver a speech.
"She then had to rush back after the function to attend the Girls' Guide Association of Malaysia annual general assembly which was officiated by the Raja Permaisuri Agong.
"How could Rosmah attend all these important functions if she followed the schedule of a commercial flight?" he asked in a media statement.
Rizal also accused Rafizi of making a malicious claim.
"This 'revelation' is malicious as he (Rafizi) is trying to create the impression that the prime minister's wife is being wasteful.
"This accusation that the trip was luxurious is also slander," he said.
Rafizi had claimed the private jet used by Rosmah was an Airbus ACJ319 which features 10 private suites with a 32" television in each room, as well as a lounge area.
Rizal explained that the aircraft was not specifically chartered for Rosmah.
"The ACJ319 aircraft with registration number A6-CJE is a replacement aircraft chartered by the Malaysian government for the country's dignitaries including the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Permaisuri Agong and other dignitaries," he said.
He added that the government had chartered the aircraft for two months as a replacement to the ACJ320 which is undergoing maintenance.
"The aircraft is a replacement for the government's aircraft which was why it used the Subang air base.
"Rosmah is the prime minister's wife and in terms of protocol, she qualifies (to use the aircraft)," he said.