Penang has been cutting cost since 2008, Guan Eng tells PM

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said state administrators have been practising cost saving measures since 2008. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said state administrators have been practising cost saving measures since 2008. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

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GEORGE TOWN, Dec 31 — Penang scoffed today at Putrajaya's 11-measure solution to trim government spending, pointing out that the state has been cutting its expenses since Pakatan Rakyat (PR) took over in 2008.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told a press conference here that Putrajaya's latest maneuver was “nothing new” as in Penang, all state administrators including himself, have always worked to keep their bills low, including travelling by economy class for both domestic and international flights.

“Since we took over in 2008, we have been practising all cost saving measures so all these 11 measures that was announced was nothing new but it would not mean anything if they do not do anything about corruption,” he said in a press conference this afternoon.

Lim said this in response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s announcement yesterday of 11 measures to be implemented in Putrajaya to trim public expenditure from tomorrow.

The measures include a 10 per cent reduction in ministers' and deputy ministers’ entertainment allowances, a reduction in the consumpton of food and drinks and use of buntings and banners during conferences, seminars, meeting, courses, workshops and other official functions.

The eligibility for domestic and international flight tickets for civil servants will also be amended, where those in the Jusa C Grade and below will only be eligible for economy class tickets on domestic flights.

On this, Lim asked what class the ministers and deputy ministers typically use during their travels.

“They only amend for civil servants but what about the ministers and deputy ministers? Do they travel in economy class like all of us in Penang?” he asked.

He said the federal government was going about its reforms in the wrong way as it has still yet to implement any concrete measure to curb corruption and financial mismanagement.

“The biggest problem is still corruption and they have to resolve this if they really want to trim expenditures,” he said.

Since September, Putrajaya has introduced a series of cost-cutting measures to rein in a chronic budget deficit which includes a reduction of fuel subsidies, removal of subsidy for sugar, allowed an increase in power tariffs and confirmed the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST).

These steps have earned the Barisan Nasional administration widespread criticisms as Malaysians complained of rising costs due to these price hikes when financial mismanagement and corruption is still seemingly rampant in the government.

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