Budget 2016 is unmistakably a budget essentially “of Najib, by Najib and for Najib.”
The Budget has three salient features:
First, total budgeted expenditure decreased for the first time since 2010. Budgeted expenditure for 2015 was RM 274 billion while RM267 billion was allocated for 2016, a decline of RM 67 billion.
Second, the cuts were needed due to the massive fall of petroleum income. The Government targets to collect RM 39 billion from GST, of which RM 21 billion is net new revenue after deducting the foregone collection from the abolishment of Sales and Services Tax (SST). In other words, ordinary Malaysians are shouldering an additional new tax burden of RM 21 billion net in the form of GST.
Third, one would imagine that unnecessary expenditure would be cut while the essentials would be kept. But it seems that the Najib Budget got all its priorities wrong.
Massive cuts were imposed on education, welfare and social spending but Prime Minister’s Department not only did not cut back on its spending, more was allocated for 2016 (from RM 19 billion in 2015 to RM 20.3 billion in 2016) and taking a higher proportion from the national coffers.
In 2016, the Prime Minister’s Department is taking 7.6 percent of the total budgeted expenditure.
A decade ago in 2006, the Prime Minister’s Department only took up 2.67% of the total budgeted expenditure. In 2007 and 2008, it occupied 3.81% and 3.4% of resources respectively.
After the disastrous electoral outing of March 2008 and the September 16th threat of crossovers of Barisan Nasional MPs in the same year, more resources were allocated to the Prime Minister’s Department for the Prime Minister to consolidate his base within UMNO and also to counter the Opposition.
Prime Minister’s Department received 6.71%, 6.37% and 6.74% in 2009, 2010, 2011. For the following years, it was 5.38% (2012), 5.24% (2013), 6.23% (2014) and 6.96% (2015).
Budget 2016 is the first time the allocation for Prime Minister’s Department hits more than 7%.