DAP MP slams 'bloated' RM4b PM's Dept
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA LUMPUR: Calls for stringent and frugal spending amid a high budget deficit might seem like a self-embarrassing slogan given that almost RM4 billion is allocated for the Prime Minister's Department (JPM) for this year alone, said a DAP leader today.
The figure was given by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz, in a written reply, to Taiping DAP MP Nga Kor Ming today.
The minister also stated that the number of its civil servants has doubled from 21,000 in 2003 to 43,000 this year.
The reason for the bloating allocation, said Nazri, was due to the establishment of several new agencies such as the Judges Appointment Commission Secretariat, Secretariat Office to former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Performance and Implementation Unit or Pemandu.
Several existing agencies like the National Security Council, the National Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and Early Childhood Education Unit (Permata) - a unit supervised by Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak - also saw additions in posts which explains the increase in spending.
Pakatan needed only 7,000 to run state
However, Nga criticised the allocation as wasteful amid the government's burgeoning debt which stood at more than RM350 billion in 2009.
The Taiping MP said the number of civil servants needed for the entire Perak government, when it was run by Pakatan Rakyat, was only slightly more than 7,000.
"This is ridiculous. How come you only need that number to run Perak and such a big number of staff just to operate the JPM. In the end, the taxpayers are the ones bearing the cost," he said.
He also pointed out that Taiwan, with a population of 28 million people, a million more than Malaysia, has only 20 cabinet members while Malaysia has 30.
The Najib administration has come under criticism over its hefty operational costs which stood at close to RM155 billion or 75 percent of the total 2009 budget. It increased to more than five percent for 2010.
It was slapped with further setbacks after growing debt had forced the government to dismantle its subsidies on fuel and essential goods amid public outrage that government operational expenditures ballooned drastically.
Fearing voters backlash, the Barisan Nasional government is forced to phase out its subsidy cuts plan.