Minister voices shock at cut in allocation for MPs but understands need for it

PETALING JAYA: A senior minister in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Cabinet has voiced his shock over cuts in constituency allocations, especially for those in Sarawak.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi took to Facebook to express his dismay at the cuts as it will affect MPs serving constituencies in the interior, particularly in Sarawak.

"As an MP and Cabinet member of the Unity Government, I fully understand the action of this policy forcibly taken as an austerity measure for the nation's finances.

"Even so, the decision is somewhat shocking, taking into consideration the needs of residents and the various areas, especially in the interior," he said in a Facebook post early Monday (Feb 6) morning.

Nanta was responding to a reduction in the MPs development allocations from RM3.8mil to RM1.3mil announced by Anwar on Friday (Feb 3).

The Prime Minister said the move comes as the country's economy is still in recovery mode, with the allocations to be increased once the economy improves.

It was reported on Thursday (Feb 2) that constituency allocations for government backbencher MPs this year have been reduced by more than 65%.

It is learnt that allocations for this year have been cut from RM3.8mil to RM1.3mil.

The RM1.3mil consists of a RM1mil outright grant and another RM300,000 for service centre operations.

The allocation cut saw several backbenchers from both sides of the political divide voicing their dismay, saying that it would affect their service to the people.

However, the move did see support from Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil who urged MPs to practise prudence and maximise all available resources to meet the needs of their constituents despite the reduction in their development allocations.

Fahmi suggested policymakers could seek help from their corporate partners through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes.

Meanwhile, Nanta, who is Kapit MP, noted that the decrease in allocation would make it difficult for him and other MPs to address the needs of constituents in the rural and interior areas.

"The allocation is channelled to the one-stop centre at the services centres for residents in the area who need urgent help," he said, adding the cuts would also affect MPs in urban areas in assisting the B40 and M40 groups.

Although upset at the allocation cut, Nanta said he has to accept the decision with the hope that it would be increased again from time to time.

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