MP SPEAKS The Prime Minister’s Department will receive an allocation of RM15.94 billion in 2017, of which RM4.92 billion is for administration and RM11.01 billion for development.
This allocation is unnecessarily huge, especially when most other ministries, especially health, education, welfare and internal security, suffer substantial cuts.
Yesterday, I received a written reply from Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said to my question on the huge allocation for the Prime Minister’s Department.
Azalina stated that the RM11.01 billion allocation for development would be channelled through the 31 departments within the Prime Minister’s Department involved in the 11th Malaysia Plan (Rolling Plan 2), as approved by the Economic Planning Unit.
According to Azalina (photo), the Prime Minister’s Department has 92 departments/agencies which include 57 departments, 10 federal statutory bodies, 13 companies, five corridor development agencies, five foundations and two international organisations.
The argument that there are many agencies and departments within the Prime Minister’s Department - and therefore justifying the huge sum allocated - is flawed. In the first place there shouldn’t be so many agencies placed under the Prime Minister’s Department, which cannibalises other ministerial roles.
For instance, the Land Public Transport Commission (Spad) should be placed within Transport Ministry, not the Prime Minister’s Department.
Further, a significant amount of the allocation for development to the Prime Minister’s Department are funds to be disbursed to external parties at the discretion of the Prime Minister, which I have previously called “slush funds”, a practice that did not exist before Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s time.
I will deal with this matter in another piece, but suffice to say that those funds are meant for the prime minister to procure loyalties.
While the RM15.94 billion allocation to the Prime Minister’s Department in 2017 is smaller than the RM20 billion allocated for 2016, it should still be curbed further.
The Prime Minister’s Department today takes 6.1 percent of the total annual federal budget, when it was only allocated 3.4 percent in 2008.
In the 2017 Budget, only RM48 billion, or 18 percent, is allocated for development, which will certainly hurt the future of the nation as plans to upgrade roads, hospitals or ports would have to be deferred.
But despite the very limited pool of funds, the Prime Minister’s Department took 23 percent of the total allocation for development, when it took only 8.1 percent in 2008.
All indicators point to the fact that the Prime Minister’s Department is taking away precious resources from other ministries and priorities at the expense of ordinary Malaysians.
Before the start of the current session of this parliamentary sitting, I submitted a motion, which is displayed as Item 27:
27. PR-1343-U77348 Tuan Liew Chin Tong [Kluang] akan mencadangkan:- "Bahawa Dewan ini bersetuju mengurangkan peruntukan untuk JPM dan menyalurkan kepada peruntukan bagi hal ehwal pendidikan, pengangkutan awam, kesihatan dan kebajikan rakyat. Peruntukan untuk Jabatan Perdana Menteri telah dihadkan tahapnya pada tahun 2008 iaitu masing-masing sebanyak RM3.4 bilion bagi peruntukan pengurusan dan RM3.5 bilion untuk pembangunan. Ini membawa kepada jumlah keseluruhan sebanyak RM6.9 bilion. Berbanding 2016, anggaran peruntukan pengurusan dan pembangunan telah melepasi tahap ditetapkan pada 2008 tersebut iaitu masing-masing sebanyak RM5.9 bilion dan RM14 bilion yang membawa kepada jumlah keseluruhan RM20 bilion." [Menteri Kewangan]
I don’t expect this motion to see the light of being debated, but it is important to curb the expenditure of the Prime Minister’s Department so that we can instead channel these funds to better healthcare, transport, crime prevention and education.
LIEW CHIN TONG is the MP for Kluang and DAP national political education director.