Allocation for Prime Minister’s Department is unnecessarily huge

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The Prime Minister’s Department will receive an allocation of RM 15.94 billion in 2017, of which RM 4.92 billion is for Administration and RM 11.01 billion for Development. The allocation is unnecessarily huge when most other ministries, especially health, education, welfare and policing suffer substantial cuts.

Yesterday, I received a written reply from Dato’ Seri Azalina Othman Said, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, to my question on the huge allocation to the Prime Minister’s Department. She stated that the RM 11.01 billion Development allocation will be channeled through the 31 departments within the Prime Minister’s Department involved in the 11th Malaysia Plan (Rolling Plan 2), as approved by Economic Planning Unit.

According to Azalina, the Prime Minister’s Department has 92 departments/agencies which include 57 departments, 10 federal statutory bodies, 13 companies, 5 corridor development agencies, 5 foundations and 2 international organisations.
The argument that there are many agencies and departments within the Prime Minister’s Department 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 cannibalised ministerial roles.
For instance, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) should be placed within Transport Ministry, not Prime Minister’s Department. Further, significant amount of Development allocation of 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 Razak’s time. I will deal with the 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 takes 6.1% of total Federal Budget when it was only 3.4% in 2008.
In the 2017 Budget, only RM 48 billion or 18% 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 in the very limited pool of funds, the Prime Minister’s Department took 23% of the total Development allocation when it took only 8.1% 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.
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Before the start of the current session of 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.
(Media statement by DAP National Political Education Director and MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong in Kuala Lumpur on 15th November 2016 .)
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