GEORGE TOWN, Feb 17 ― The government is spending in accordance with the budget allocation and planning to avoid excessive spending, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
He dismissed a claim that the government did not have enough money to the extent that it had to cut allocations for ministries.
Instead, he said the government was merely taking precautionary measures to ensure that every expenditure made was prudent and accountable.
“This is to ensure that we do not overspend. If it is a project costing billions that we cannot afford, I think being cautious is a responsible and prudent attitude, what is most important is to ensure that the people are getting the help that they need.
“If we overspend and let it get out of control, it will become like the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), and that is something we do not want to see,” he told reporters after attending the Chinese New Year open house hosted by the Ayer Itam State Assembly Community Service Centre here yesterday.
Lim, who is also Member of Parliament for Bagan, said the country’s financial position was in good shape, as evident by the government’s ability to dish out a special payment of RM500 to civil servants at the end of last year.
“If we were to compare (with the previous government)... we’d made the special payment within the same year. We did not delay the payment a year later. This showed that the expenditure was made in accordance with the planning.
“I think there may be problems in terms of (delayed) payments even though the Ministry of Finance has issued the payments. The problem is probably due to certain officers (causing the delays), but not all. This may cause some problems to the government. We hope all government officers can obey instructions,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, Lim expressed confidence that the country’s economy would continue to improve this year based on growing confidence among foreign investors and local consumers.
Citing the findings from Nielsen’s Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, he said Malaysia’s consumer confidence index surged by 24 points to 118 point in the fourth quarter of 2018 from 94 points in the corresponding period in 2017.
“This highest increase has positioned Malaysia at number seven in the world. Even though at number seven, it is the biggest increase among all countries in the world.
“This shows that not only foreign investors are confident about raising foreign investment by 250 per cent but also local consumer confidence has risen to be the highest level among all countries,” he added. ― Bernama