KINIGUIDE | To a question from Malaysiakini whether it is ethical for a national leader to accept valuable gifts, former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak justified it by saying that leaders of other countries had received valuable gifts as well.
Specifically, he said, the late Saudi ruler King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud had given millions of dollars to former US First Lady Michelle Obama, while Abdullah’s successor King Salman also gave millions during a state visit to Indonesia.
“So some of these monarchs in certain countries, it's part of their culture to give costly items.
“For example, items given to me by these monarchs, I have not used them. I have kept them because I don't use very expensive things as my friends know. I don't use any watches that contain valuable stones,” Najib told Malaysiakini in an interview last week.
However, Indonesia and the US, in fact, are among countries that have laws and protocols for handling such gifts. These protocols are specifically aimed at avoiding the perception of impropriety, especially when the gifts comprise valuable items.
For this instalment of KiniGuide, we see what happens after certain world leaders unbox the gifts they can’t keep...