Spend more prudently the people’s money

Just 10 days back, I have written a post on ” Change of lifestyle, please lead by example“.  in which I suggested that government should cut down expenses on overseas trips, food & beverages during meeting, cutting down expenses on computers and IT gadgets…

The government is going to do all these , according to Malaysiakini news report ” PM makes RM 2billion cost cut”

Just by cutting down on these items, the government is expected to save RM 2 millionBillion ringgits. While this is a good start, I think further cuts are merited, especially the holidays and entertainment expenses. While there might be a case for the rakyat to pay for the minister’s holidays (even that may be debatable), I do not see any reason why we should pay for the holiday expenses of his family. As a minister, he is already enjoying far better perks than the rakyat, so why should the rakyat pay for the holidays of his family?

The hefty amount, RM 2 Billion no less,  that can be saved from just a small cut announced by the PM says it all…. That the government has been very extravagant and has been misusing Rakyat’s funds which could have been put to better use in the past. Say, if the cost savings starts 5 years ago, we could have saved up to 10 billions. Or, if the cost cutting starts from 1997, it would be a even hefty amount of RM22 billions. Just imagine how many buses could have been bought? If ,like Singapore government, we have invested these 22 billions, how much return a year could have been earned? A 10% return is 2.2 Billions,  enough to feed all Malaysians at least 3 months of rice…

Imagine, this is just a small cut to sooth the anger of the public. If the leaders genuinely think of the people, the government should go for for an austerity drive and not just a cosmetic cut of expenses (like what was announced). Many billions more can be saved, and these money will go a long way to help the economy grows, improve our public transport system,  or at least can be used to pay off our external debts.

This 2 billion saving announcement is a tacit acknowledgement that the government has not been prudent in its spending. It is, however, never too late to change. I hope that PM will go for an austerity drive and show us that he and the other leaders will not misuse our money in future. 



14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. aadya
    Jun 10, 2008 @ 17:09:08

    Greetings Dr, havent been popping in for quite some time.

    What shall i say, no use crying over spilt milk, i suppose what’s done is done, and saying that our govt even under our previous PM’s rule were guilty of sucking out the rakyat’s money all this while. (Imagine the holidays they gladly had on OUR expense before this, and TDM was in rule for 22 years. Sheeeeesh!)

    It is indeed a welcome change, although small, (but RM2 billion is still money) and let it be a lesson to the furture leaders too. AAB has enough decency to initiate the difficult first step to change. More is in store I hope.

    And on another note, is it just my observation that they are being sensitive to what the rakyat are saying no? Like whatever being debated on blogs, during mamak sessions, it’s somehow being taken into account and that’s why they decide on these things. Hmm…


  2. novice101
    Jun 10, 2008 @ 18:38:10

    Much more can be saved if the government were awarded judiciously. Billions of ringgit are leaked out unnecessarily in the way awards for projects were done.


  3. novice101
    Jun 10, 2008 @ 18:39:19

    Sorry, should read ‘….government projects were awarded….’


  4. pohwatchdog
    Jun 10, 2008 @ 21:46:05

    Austerity drive by the Barisan Nasional government to cut down Ministers and Deputy Ministers allowance is the right step. Maybe they deserve it compare with Singapore minister who receive more than Singapore 1 million per year as allowance. They need to work hard and plan proper programmes to improve our national economy, education programme, health care, efficient public transport, security, stability, foreign investment, job creation for our Malaysian citizen, infrastructure development and many…many more. They really need to trim their lifestyle and be a leader by example. They need to a lot of convincing and public relation through the mass media, internet and even blog for any misinformation. Sometime we really have difficulty to difference fact or fiction.

    The rakyat want a better, prosperous economy and better qualities of life. The rakyat wouldn’t mind with the hardship if proper enforcement in price mechanism is taken care of by the government. We really need enforcement, commitment and cooperation from every level to make Malaysia a better place

    How about those in Pakatan Rakyat holding 2 or 3 or 4 post as ADUN, EXCO and Member of Parliament plus more? Is it right for them to contribute part of their salaries for those in need especially with the petrol and diesel hike?


  5. steven
    Jun 10, 2008 @ 23:47:55

    Don’t even dream that BN will start this austerity drive before 12th election, let alone have all those hypothetical saving, only by showing these abusers of “rakyat” fund the exit door will get them behaving, too much talking n anger by the rakyat is not going to make situation better, except have them ship out with our votes.


  6. romerz
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 02:46:37

    RM2 billion is what we’re allowed to see ‘saved’ and we’re supposed to appreciate it.

    What we don’t see is the billions more that is being siphoned off into the pockets of the few.

    Thank goodness for the 12GE and the aftermath where more and more people are now prepared to talk.

    Let me ask you guys a question about corruption in this country.

    What do you think is the kick-back necessary to be paid for a RM60 million contract prior to 2004 and after 2004?

    Prior to 2004, the kick-back would be in the region of 2-3 million and no more than 5 million. Since 2004, the amount has ballooned to 15-20 million!

    And this is from a businessman who is not known for loose and small talk!

    He further added that the amount asked was too large to even contemplate bidding for it so he asked the ‘middle man’ (who happens to be an UMNO division chief).

    “Tak masuk akal apa yang Tuan minta”.

    The reply he got?

    “Tadak pilihan. Kami kena ‘turun-padang’ dan rakyat hari ini minta banyak”.

    Doc, even he who used to ‘play’ within the ‘system’ is so disgusted that he has gone opposition.

    Sorry Doc, but I think I’m headed that direction too as I learn more and more each day of the robbery that is taking place right before our very noses.

    I do not know about you but as for me, I think I’ve known about the corruption all along but chose to ignore it as I wasn’t prepared to confront it and didn’t think it was to this scale. (I have no excuses for my past complacency)

    But not anymore, when helpless ordinary people are suffering each passing day as can be clearly seen now.

    As one of your commentators said (I’m afraid I can’t remember the name), I think we have passed the Rubicon.

    Forget reforms. Nothing short of UMNO’s destruction will suffice anymore.

    A very horrible future awaits us!

    (By the way and as you are aware, my efforts to get Gerakan to pull out from BN has fallen on deaf ears)


  7. Dr Hsu
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 10:19:09

    romerz, I have heard similar stories about the kick back being in the region of 20-30% of a projects, where before it was only 3-5%. Is it any wonder why new houses are sold so much higher? Who ultimately pay for all these kick back? The housebuyers. It is now so tough for young people to own a house.

    As for BN, I have lost hope in it long long ago, and that was why as far back as a few years ago, I have been asking my party leaders to take the party out of BN. If they have done so, they would have not only kept Penang, but won big in other states, and maybe even win most of the MCA and MIC seats.

    After this steep petrol hike ( they should have staggered it gradually), the support for BN is even worse. If they call a snap election now, they would lose East malaysia as well, and that means they will lose the whole Federal adminstration to opposition.


  8. Justin Choo
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 10:25:47


    I am just an ignorant outsider, but my perception of Gerakan long ago since it joined BN is no better than that of UMNO and all its beggar component parties.


  9. Justin Choo
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 11:32:13

    A follow-up to my above comment.

    Funny, before the 12GE, comments like mine would be treated with contempt, and even be deleted for fear of Big Brother. Even I myself imposed a self-restraint order. What about now?

    People sneered at me when I wrote that even the greatest dynasties in China could crumble, let alone a little group of loosely formed coalition party. Look at KMT in Taiwan; Marcos in Philippines, Sukarno in Indonesia, INC in India, and so many others.


  10. A true Malaysian
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 12:04:05

    I have the same view with My View, which commented in Malaysiakini :-

    My View: I just can’t understand why PM, DPM and cabinet ministers need to have entertainment allowances. What kind of people would theyentertain? If they did not do any entertaining, do they need to return the allowance?

    I am just curious. In my mind, government officials should not entertain and should not be entertained to get rid of corruption, cronyism and favourtism.


  11. Dr Hsu
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 15:07:45

    In a way it is true that they do not need entertainment allowances, which are normally abused.

    Only when there are foreign guests from foreign government visiting , then the ministry concerned may decide whether to host a dinner from the Ministry’s funds. But not blanket entertainment.

    How often you see ministers or deputy ministers pay when they take dinners with locals? very often you can see businessmen trying outdo each others to pay for the meals, if ever they can have a meal together with such high officials.

    As for holidays, in the old days, ministers and high officlas used to vacation in rest houses in local resorts or towns provided by the government for this purpose. The government should make sure that these minsiters and officials ‘cuti-cuti di Malaysia” and make sure that they pay for their own holidays.

    If they can do all these, I am sure the savings will be much higher then the 2 Billons announced.


  12. Dr Hsu
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 16:19:01

    Justin, critical comments in my blogs, even before 12 GE, were always allowed, provided they did not contain foul languages and did not constitute personal attacks.

    Of course, every one is much braver now. We should thank Pak lah for being more open and more liberal towards dissenting views. I am sure many of us will be in Kamunting if Dr M is still in power.


  13. Peter Yew
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 16:47:45

    Dr Hsu,

    RM 2 billion is a huge sum of savings from the small sacrifices of cutting back some expenses and holidays. Shouldn’t we be entitled to a breakdown of how these savings come about? Just imagine if the cabinet ministers and their cronies have not been splurging all these years we could have saved RM 50 billion or more. Looking at the way the citizens are suffering now, especially the lower income group, the BN government should be charged for gross negligence, ineptness, corrupt practices and incompetence in running the country, especially the past 25 years. DPM calls this a sacrifice. It is like a rich man giving away 10 sen to a beggar.


  14. steven
    Jun 16, 2008 @ 00:41:01

    Obviously giving ministers entertainment allowances does not make any sense, as government agency is not same as business entity, the agency’s goal is supposed to serve “rakyat” interest according to national goal, not entertain anybody, period.
    It shows that this corrupt power is having “hanky panky” business deal beneath the public radar, which is no secret to any knowing Malaysian.


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