PETALING JAYA: While Malaysians praise the 10% pay cut for all ministers as announced by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, experts are suggesting similar measures be extended to MPs and high-ranking civil servants.
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia senior lecturer Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow said MPs and top-level civil servants should follow the footsteps of ministers.
Allowances for MPs, he said, increased by nearly 40% from RM11,000 to RM16,000 under amendments to the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act in 2014.
Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd chief economist Manokaran Mottain said the decision to reduce the salaries of ministers was necessary following the new government’s fiscal reforms.
These include removing the 6% Goods and Services Tax, the introduction of the Peduli Sihat scheme and the reimplementation of subsidies, which he said would increase government expenditure.
He said such reforms are estimated to lead to a revenue loss of between RM6bil and RM8bil.
“What they (Government) are doing now is to save cost as remuneration is the bulk of the Government’s operating expenditure,” he said.
When asked if other high-ranking civil servants apart from ministers should take a pay cut, Manokaran said: “Why not?”
But he said this may not be in the form of salaries but in allowances.
“Entertainment allowances should be looked into including expenditures in the form of overseas travel and meetings.
“I am sure unnecessary spending will be reviewed and I believe the Government is looking at more efficient management,” he said.
Manokaran said more savings can be expected following the closure of several agencies and the plugging of leakages and wastages in government.
According to previous reports, a 10% salary cut for a full Cabinet with 25 ministers and deputy ministers will see savings of more than RM800,000 a year.
Cuepacs president Datuk Azih Muda said they hoped the salary cuts are only for ministers and not civil servants.
“This is because their current salary may just be enough to support themselves,” he said.
When asked whether pay cuts should be extended to lower ranked civil servants, MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon said that there must be justification.
Unlike ministers who come and go, he said, civil servants are permanent and long-serving.
He said new ministers would not be affected by the pay cuts.
“They have not received any salaries before as a minister. So, if (there is a reduction of) 10% or 20%, it would not affect them in any way,” Solomon said.
Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the cut in salaries demonstrated new ministers are prepared to make sacrifices.
“It is leadership by example, they are sacrificing for others and that is the best thing that a minister and the prime minister can do,” he said.
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