PM cleans house on first day; axes SPAD, JASA, NPC and more

Mahathir said the Land Public Transport Commission will be abolished. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Mahathir said the Land Public Transport Commission will be abolished. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PUTRAJAYA, May 23 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad terminated several agencies today including the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and the Special Affairs Department (JASA) in apparent austerity measures prompted by the discovery of Malaysia’s over RM1 trillion debt burden.

In press conference here after chairing the first Cabinet meeting of his term this morning, he said the agencies will be absorbed by the relevant ministries and their assets and manpower redeployed where needed.

“SPAD will not be maintained, but the duties will be returned to Transport Ministry,” he said.

When pressed to explain the significance of his announcement, he said this meant SPAD would be “abolished”.

Others that will be discontinued include the Village Development and Security Committee (JKKKP) that the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government used to reward village chiefs.  

Dr Mahathir noted that while these were formed under the federal government, they did not come under its direct control.

He also added that the committees were political rather than administrative, and their functions redundant.

“There won’t be any compensation as we do not want to practise the politics of the previous government,” he said.

Another casualty is the National Professors Council (NPC) that was viewed as aligned with BN previously.

The PM said that while it was created for the government to obtain feedback from the intelligentsia, this also became political and used to prop up the BN administration.

“Most institutions that are not part of the government, but were supposed to advise the government, will be disbanded,” he explained.

Commenting on the 17,000 contract public workers who will be terminated, he said it was determined that most were political appointees and reiterated that all will be released from their contracts.

Those with valid non-political functions, such as drivers, would be re-engaged following this termination.

“But first they will all be terminated,” he said.

Earlier in the press conference, Dr Mahathir said the national debt was equivalent to 65 per cent of Malaysia’s entire economy.

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