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KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first official policy move was to reduce Cabinet members’ pay by 10 per cent, replicating a similar step he took in 1981.
The paycut appeared designed to reinforce his previous revelation that Malaysia was over RM1 trillion in debt due to the excesses and abuses of the defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.
He also invited senior civil servants to join in the austerity move, but said he would leave this to the discretion of the individual ministries.
“When I was first appointed in 1981, I cut the salary of ministers and senior civil servants.
“But if they feel they want to contribute in reducing the cost of the country, they can do so, but we won’t force it,” he told reporters after the Cabinet’s maiden meeting today.
He added that the salaries of ministers were less than that of government senior officers.
A federal minister's monthly basic salary is about RM14,907.20, while the prime minister and deputy prime minister's monthly basic salaries total RM22,826.65 and RM18,168.15, respectively.