SHAH ALAM: They may be qualified to enjoy the best service on flights and accommodation on their official overseas trips, but Wisma Putra officials opt to cut expenses by utilising less luxurious choices.
Instead of a suite, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said he and other senior ministry officials would stay in standard rooms and fly business class.
“Rooms are only for sleeping,” he said after launching the Global Peace Mission Malaysia’s Yemen Humanitarian Fund to raise money for civil war victims there yesterday.
Saifuddin said Wisma Putra practised frugal spending to better manage allocated funds.
He said Malaysian foreign envoys and high commissioners would also follow suit to minimise wastage.
During the tabling of Budget 2019 on Friday, about RM748mil was allocated to Wisma Putra compared to RM739mil in the last Budget.
Saifuddin said the 2019 allocations would go towards restoring embassy workers’ quarters and vehicles in certain locations, as well as upgrading the IT systems.
On a separate matter, Saifuddin, who is contesting a seat in the PKR central leadership council in the ongoing party polls, agreed that there were problems in the e-voting system and some contesting candidates were unhappy.
“I will not discuss it here, but I will bring it up to the party’s leadership,” he said.
Saifuddin was asked to comment on the chaos at the PKR elections in Keningau, Sabah, where deputy president candidate Rafizi Ramli claimed he was assaulted at the polling centre.
Earlier in his speech, Saifuddin said Malaysia would do its part to help alleviate the sufferings faced by civil war victims in Yemen.
“We are a small country, but we have always been a good host and will do as much as possible to accommodate those in need,” he said.
He also said there was no quota set for Yemenis to come to Malaysia, but they must enter with legal travel documents.
The Yemeni embassy said there are 17,000 Yemenis in Malaysia who are students, successful Malaysia My Second Home applicants, employees and social pass holders.
The fund was set up in collaboration with Sinar Harian and Kumpulan Karangkraf, and aims to raise RM1mil in six months to support humanitarian missions to Yemen.