7 Oct 2012

Inquiry into payments for lavish wedding

7:00 am on 7 October 2012

The Anti-Corruption Commission in Malaysia has begun an inquiry after reports that public funds were used to pay for the lavish wedding of the son of a top official.

Some 130,000 guests were hosted at a sports centre in the southern state of Malacca for eight hours of revelry on Sunday.

Malacca Chief Minister Ali Rustam insisted the function, where the food alone reportedly cost $US200,000, had been his "own family arrangement".

Opposition politicians asked how he could afford the cost on his salary.

The BBC reports the wedding of Ridhwan Ali, 26, the minister's eldest son, was meant to show that the party still had support from the people. Guests included estate workers.

"[The opposition] should not be jealous of the huge crowd," the chief minister was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.

"The wedding was my own family arrangement and has nothing to do with the state government."

Anti-corruption Commission deputy head Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdul said a detailed investigation had begun.

"We are going item by item, to see how much money was spent and who paid for it," he was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.

A BBC correspondent says the extravagance of the wedding is seen as another sign that the governing coalition is out of touch with Malaysians.

Barisan Nasional, has been in power for 55 years and is accused of being corrupt and arrogant.