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LETTER | Cutting salary of ministers is to set the tempo right

LETTER | I wish to respond to Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa’s claim that cutting the ministers’ salaries would not help to rein in inflation.

He seemed so assertive and had accused his opponents of playing politics instead of trying to solve the raging inflation problem in the country.

I think Annuar got the message wrong when the call was made to reduce the ministers’ salaries. The message was pomp, extravagance and waste that has become part of our culture.

If ministers have indulged themselves with endless perks, privileges and unjustified salaries, it is the issue of “leadership by example”.

Is there any surprise if GLCs, the civil service and other institutions of government are also equally culpable in indulging in extravagance and wastage? It is the national ethos the cabinet ministers had inculcated and promoted.

Looking at the salaries of the ministers per se may be insignificant. But looking at the example set and the ramifications caused, I don’t think the amount is small anymore.

I agree that inflation is caused by many interrelated factors. Besides the “unfettered” creation of money (which many countries are doing) and supply chain disruptions due to Covid-19 and now the war in Europe, inflation is also aggravated by unproductive and wasteful spending.

If spending did not help to build the productive capacity of the economy, it is inflationary because there is no corresponding increase in GDP potential.

Bloated public sector

The public sector in Malaysia is huge. It is time to critically examine the “goods and services” produced by the public sector that are needed by the people.

If the public sector had been extravagant and wasteful and had not been producing services that are needed by the people, it is inflationary.

We always complain that price subsidies for cooking oil, petrol, and chicken are expensive to maintain. But wastage and extravagant expenditure of the public sector including salaries and perks of ministers, top bosses of GLCs and the civil service are also a form of subsidies.

The call to reduce the salaries of ministers is not politicking. t is a message to set the tempo right for the country to fight inflation.


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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