Reduce allocation for PM’s Office instead of cutting scholarships

PM flayed for slaying JPA scholarships over PMO expenses

The government has been questioned for targeting the Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships in its budget cuts when there are other less crucial allocations that can be downsized.

“What is the reason and criteria for them to be ‘sacrificed’?” asked DAP’s Seremban MP Anthony Loke.

He further asked if the suspension would be implemented for all JPA scholarships of 11,604 students, or if it would only affect the 700 as reported.

“If only 700 of the 11,604 scholars will be affected by the suspension, the government needs to explain why this group of scholars were victimised?” he said in a statement today.

Loke said while the decline of global oil prices, which has negatively affected national revenue greatly, is out of the government’s control, the manner in which the government cuts and prioritises spending is the prime minister’s decision.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak should therefore lead by example by reducing the allocation for his “discretionary spending” and non-specific program expenses under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), he said.

Loke cited five examples of programme expenses under the PMO which could be down-sized: ‘restructuring the community’, development programs, ‘electronic government project’, special projects and ‘project rakyat-friendly’.

The allocation for all five total RM3.75 billion, he said, and if they were all reduced by 50 percent, it would be enough to accommodate the expenses required for the JPA scholarships in 2016.

PM should trim the cabinet

Likewise, PKR strategy director urged that the government should trim the size of its Cabinet, as well as the oversized Prime Minister’s Department.

He said at this point, the cabinet with 36 ministers, 33 deputy ministers, four special advisors, and four special envoys of ministerial rank, totals 77 persons altogether. In comparison, the US cabinet has only 15 cabinet ministers.

“Their expenditure does not come cheap with their wages, allowances, as well as their office, with its secretaries, special officers, and visits all around the world […]

“The Malaysian cabinet is too big for a small country like Malaysia,” he said in a separate statement today.

As for the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD), Sim said this too has become too large with 92 departments or agencies, 57 departments, 10 statutory bodies, 13 companies, five corridor development agencies, five foundations, and two international bodies – with a total allocation of RM20.3 billion for this year.

“(The function) of many agencies under the PMD overlaps with other ministries. If the PMD is consolidated with other ministries, then more savings can be made,” he said.

PM flayed for slaying JPA scholarships over PMO expenses
21 Jan 2016 – Malaysiakini


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