Dr M tells MPs to reject Bills seeking more funds for govt

Mahathir said the government should reduce spending to keep the country’s deficit down amid the Covid-19 pandemic. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Mahathir said the government should reduce spending to keep the country’s deficit down amid the Covid-19 pandemic. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — Langkawi MP Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today asked MPs to reject any Bill seeking additional funds for the government’s expenditure, including the RM7.18 billion to facilitate the restructuring of the newly-formed Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Cabinet.

He said the government should reduce spending to keep the country’s deficit down amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is irresponsible. As the government, they should manage finances wisely.

“Here we find that the government has increased the number of Cabinet members without taking into account the government's capabilities,” he told the Dewan Rakyat while debating the Supplementary Supply (2019) Bill 2020 for the additional monies. 

The former prime minister said the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration had reduced the numbers of Cabinet ministers compared to Barisan Nasional (BN)'s time. 

“The current government has appointed more than 30 ministers and the presence of special ministers who are senior ministers and ministers assigned to maintain certain relations with countries in the Middle East... they are given ministerial status with ministerial salaries and all other facilities," he said, referring to the appointment of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as the Prime Minister's Special Ambassador to the Middle East with ministerial status.

“I think this motion should be rejected altogether by the Dewan if this Dewan is responsible.

“If you are not responsible, you can support,” he added.

On July 21, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz tabled the Supplementary Supply (2019) Bill 2020 as well as the Supply (Reallocation of Appropriated Expenditure) Bill 2020 in the Lower House to reallocate RM7.18 billion to facilitate the restructuring of the PN Cabinet.

According to Tengku Zafrul, this would not involve additional allocations and would be taken from the existing budget and savings.

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