'Slush funds' in budget for PM’s Department deplorable, says MP

Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong says the Prime Minister's Department is hoarding funds from the government's development budget. ― File pic
Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong says the Prime Minister's Department is hoarding funds from the government's development budget. ― File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 ― The Prime Minister's Department (PMD) is hoarding funds from the government's development budget, a DAP lawmaker said, noting that at least a quarter of allocations under Budget 2015 is being handled by the department.

Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong questioned why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak needs to set aside so much money for his department, when a significant portion of the expenditure is “of discretionary nature” such as RM2.5 billion for a facilitation fund and another RM1.6 billion for special projects.

“Such slush funds at Najib's disposal in PMD at the expense of genuine developmental needs is deplorable,” Liew said in a statement.

Liew noted that the PMD's annual budget has ballooned by nearly five times over the past decade, with RM19 billion or seven per cent of the total 2015 budget going to the department, compared to RM4.2 billion (2.6 per cent) in 2006.

He stressed, however, that it was more alarming that the department will receive 25 per cent of the RM50.5 billion development fund for 2015, at the expense of other ministries in Najib's administration.

“The concentration of financial resources in the hands of Prime Minister Najib is unprecedented and unparalleled,” he said.

The federal government has budgeted RM273.9 billion in total expenses for 2015, with the bulk of the funds totalling RM223.4 billion going into the country's operational budget. About 18 per cent or RM50.5 billion of the total budget will be for development.

Last year, the government set aside RM217.7 billion for its operational expenditure and RM46.5 billion for development under Budget 2014.

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