53 measures to cut costs

PETALING JAYA: The Government has introduced 53 wide-ranging measures to optimise public expenditure in the face of the current economic challenges.

These include a freeze on hiring new staff, stricter controls on overtime, curbs on various expenses and a minimum 30% cut in spending on all government-organised events.

The measures, which came into effect on March 1, include a directive to all agencies to cut down the number of uniforms issued to officers from three sets per year to two.

The measures are listed in a Treasury Circular titled “Guidelines on Measures to Optimise Govern­ment Spending” which was uploaded on the Finance Ministry website. The full list of measures can be accessed online at the ministry’s website at http://1pp.treasury.gov.my/makluman/pindaan/217

The circular ordered all ministry secretaries-general, department heads, heads of statutory bodies, chief executives of companies limited by guarantee and other agency heads who receive allocations from the Government to carry out all the measures outlined.

“Regional and global economic developments have affected the financial position of the Govern­ment, as revenue collection has been impacted.

“To ensure that fiscal targets which have been set are met, measures to optimise government spending is to be implemented across the board so resources can be managed more efficiently and effectively,” the circular said.

It added that the creation of new positions is not allowed except in critical areas by redeploying existing staff or using a “trade off” method. Vacant positions not filled for more than two years will be abolished.

On overtime, prior written approval by the employee’s boss is now required.

A 10% cut in the entertainment allowances for ministers and deputy ministers that was introduced on Jan 1, 2014 is maintained in the circular.

In addition, the circular states that ministers, deputy ministers, ministry secretary-generals and approved department heads can only bring one officer with them on overseas working visits to countries where Malaysia has a mission office. In countries with no Malay­sian mission, no more than two officers can be brought along.

When travelling, civil servants will be allowed to buy their flight tickets and book their own hotel rooms to get the cheapest rates.

The circular also directs ministries to limit their number of events, conferences, seminars and workshops and said steps must be taken to cut costs.

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