Will govt cut operating costs on political appointees? minister says advisers, special envoys’ appointments based on Perikatan’s needs

25-Nov-2020 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 6:51 AM Print This Post

The current number of advisers, special envoys and members of the Perikatan Nasional administration is based on the number required by the federal government for smooth operations, a minister has said when addressing the topic of whether Putrajaya would cut down on operating costs.

Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, minister in the prime minister’s department in charge of parliament and laws, appeared to justify the number of existing political appointments in the current federal government.

“The appointment of positions in the offices of Members of the Administration are according to the needs and subject to the number of positions that have been approved by the Public Service Department (JPA) and the finance ministry. This practice is the same as the government before this.

“While if you mean the appointment of advisers or special envoys, it is also based on the needs of the ruling government, which is to ensure the administration of the country is in order and smooth,” he said in a brief two-paragraph written parliamentary reply today.

Takiyuddin was responding to PKR’s Johor Baru MP Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir’s question on whether cost-cutting would be carried out on government operation costs, in order to use government funds for development instead.

Akmal had asked the prime minister to state whether there is any initiative by the government to save on operating expenditure, especially in relation to political appointees, in order to increase spending on the country’s development, as the country’s revenues may be affected by domestic and global economic slowdown.

A check by Malay Mail of the Federal Constitution shows that a “member of the administration” at the federal government is defined as a person holding office as minister, deputy minister, parliamentary secretary or political secretary.

There are currently 32 ministers and 37 deputy ministers in the Perikatan Nasional administration, which comes up to a total of 69. It was previously 70, but a deputy minister Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan had relinquished his federal post to take up position as deputy chief minister II in Sabah.

A check of the latest version of the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act on the Attorney general’s Chambers’ website shows that the monthly salary for the prime minister is RM22,826.65, the deputy prime minister (RM18,168.15), a minister (RM14,907.20) and a deputy minister (RM10,847.65)

Three special envoys to the prime minister have been appointed under the current government with all positions carrying the same status as a minister, namely politicians Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as the prime minister’s special envoy to the Middle East, Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing as the prime minister’s special envoy to China, and Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem as the prime minister’s special envoy to East Asia (covering Japan, South Korea and Taiwan).

Previous governments have also practised these appointments of special envoys to the prime minister.

Recently while debating the proposed Budget 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat, Jerlun MP Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir had said his party Parti Pejuang Tanah Air would only vote in favour of the Budget if the government agrees to reduce the number of ministers and cut the salaries of ministers and deputy ministers up to at least 30 per cent.

Mukhriz had also suggested that Malaysia could follow Italy’s example by temporarily dropping deputy ministers until Covid-19 is contained.

Other MPs had also proposed cuts to the government’s operating costs next year to make up for the expected reduction in government revenue due to the economic impact of Covid-19, including PKR MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azisah Wan Ismail, who had proposed a 10 per cent pay cut for ministers and deputy ministers until the end of 2021.



Category: Malaysia

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