Curb spending of ‘slush fund’, Najib urged

Dzulkefly (left) and Liew (right) urged for the discretionary slush fund spending by the PMD to be curbed

Dzulkefly (left) and Liew (right) urged for the discretionary slush fund spending by the PMD to be curbed

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4: There is a need for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to curb spending in his department, ahead of Budget 2017, DAP’s Political Education Director Liew Chin Tong said today.

In a press conference, the Kluang MP said the spending of the PM’s Department (PMD) has doubled under Najib’s watch.

“Najib has made the Presidential Prime Ministership the largest ever in Malaysia’s history. The Prime Ministerial edifice is now a threat competing for scarce resources with public education, public health and welfare.

“The size of the total Budget has double between 2000 (RM111 billion) and 2016 (RM267 billion). But the allocation of the PMD has increased by four folds in these years from RM5.2 billion to RM20 billion in that same time,” Liew said.

He added that the sharpest increase happened under Najib’s watch, spiking from RM10 billion to RM20 billion in 2016.

He also said, in times of grim global economic outlook, there are some difficult choices the government has to make.

“Budget 2017 is set against an increasingly difficult and slowing global economy that inevitably means less corporate taxes for the government. Oil prices plunged since October 2014, and will not return to its previous levels for years if not decades, and that means a lot less oil revenue for the government,” he said.

With that in mind, the shortfall of revenue means the government have to choose: raise taxes, borrow more, or cut spending.

“There are already talks of further cuts to health, education and welfare spending. Yet in time of high household debts, depressed income and slow growth; public health, public education and welfare are in greater demand. To cut expenditure in time of such difficulty will inflict human suffering that Malaysia could avoid as a nation.

“We want to see this budget give more allocation to healthcare, education and welfare,” he said, adding that this is why he is urging all Cabinet ministers to force the PM’s hand and not allow this discretionary funding to happen.

“We call for the abolishment of discretional development allocations and a curb on overall spending by the PM’s Department,” Liew said.

Amanah Strategy Director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who was also at the press conference said, with the global scenario grim, and trade slowing down, there is no revenue to grow.

“We want to remind Najib that he seriously cant do more of the same thing in Budget 2017. He must be responsible, and the Budget cannot be populist,” he said, urging Najib not to continue with his ‘habit’ of supplementary budgets.

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