Frugality is the name of the game as Foreign Ministry attempts to cut costs


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 04 Nov 2018

SHAH ALAM: Wisma Putra is prepared to tighten its belt and do without premium services on flights and accommodation in an attempt to practice better financial management.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said his ministry would make do with whatever amount that has been allocated to it by practising frugal spending.

"For example, we do not (have to) fly first class and the deputy minister, secretary-general and myself use standard hotel rooms even if we have allocations to opt for better rooms.

"Rooms are only for sleeping after all," he said after launching the Yemen Humanitarian Fund here, which aims to raise funds in aid of civil war victims in Yemen.

He also noted that Malaysian foreign envoys and high commissioners are also in the habit of being frugal.

Saifuddin said the 2019 budget allocation for the ministry will go towards restoring embassy workers' quarters and vehicles in certain locations as well as upgrading its IT systems.

He said this in response to questions on whether the Ministry was satisfied with the amount allocated to it in Budget 2019.

Finance Ministry Lim Guan Eng, who tabled the budget on Friday (Nov 2), allocated RM748mil to Wisma Putra in Budget 2019, compared to RM739mil it received in Budget 2018.

Saifuddin had previously requested for an additional RM40mil when he assumed office after Pakatan Harapan's victory in the GE14.

It is understood that it is normal practice to request for a supplementary budget in the middle of the year, but only for specific uses.

Separately, Saifuddin, who is contesting for a seat in the PKR Central Leadership Council in the on-going party election, admitted that candidates may be personally dissatisfied with its e-voting system but did not elaborate.

"I will not discuss it here but will take it up with the party," he said.

This was in response to the chaos at the PKR election in Keningau, Sabah on Saturday (Nov 3) where deputy presidential candidate Rafizi Ramli claimed that he was assaulted by a man while walking out of the polling centre.

In response, incumbent party deputy president, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali responded with a tweet that suggested that the fracas was staged to gain sympathy.

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