Dr M chides govt for expanding Cabinet at cost of RM7.8bil when austerity needed instead

  • Nation
  • Monday, 17 Aug 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says it is irresponsible to spend money to set up new Cabinet posts when the rakyat is suffering due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The former prime minister and Langkawi MP, in opposing the Supply (Relocation of Appropriated Expenditure) Bill 2020, said many people had been laid off.

He added that businesses and industries were also suffering, and that the government would not be able to collect as much taxes as before.

"In such a situation, the government should reduce spending so it will not have a high deficit.

"But in the bill, the government plans to increase spending and this is irresponsible," he said while debating the bill in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Aug 17).

The bill is for a sum of RM7.867bil following the setting-up of the new Cabinet in March this year.

Dr Mahathir said to be responsible, the Perikatan Nasional government should manage its finances wisely.

"When we have a lot of money, we can spend – but when we have a little, we should spend less.

"However, we find that the government increased the numbers of Cabinet ministers without considering the government's financial capabilities," said Dr Mahathir.

"When Pakatan took over the government, we reduced the numbers of ministers and deputy ministers.

"Now when government revenues have gone down, they increased the number of ministers to over 30.

“Some were appointed as senior ministers while others were given special envoy posts with ministerial status to take care of relations with certain countries, such as in the Middle East.

"It means that they will be given allowances and special treatment similar to ministers.

"This will reduce the effectiveness of the country's capabilities to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I think it is not a wise decision and is detrimental to the government," he added.

He said he would oppose such wastage and it would be irresponsible for him to support the Bill.

There are currently 31 ministers and 38 deputy ministers.

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