KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — Four more ministers and deputy ministers have expressed their willingness to accept cuts to their salaries and allowances amid growing public discontent over the recent price hikes.

They are Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri; Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi; Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin; and Deputy National Unity Minister Wan Ahmad Fayshal Wan Ahmad Kamal, Sinar Ahad reported today.

“If everyone is on board, I’m on board. What’s important is that everyone is on the same page,” Nanta told the Malay newspaper.

He was asked to respond to the salary cut proposal made by former international trade and industry minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz who said doing so would show empathy for Malaysians struggling with rising living costs.

He reportedly added that he had no problems if the government decided to cut his pay and allowances to reduce public spending.

“For the 27 months that I have been in office [since March 2020], ministers and deputy ministers have gone through a phase where they did not have a salary for five months,” he was quoted saying.

Deputy minister Mas Ermieyati said that the cut in allowances and pay is not something new, but has been done before.

Like Nanta, she pointed out that during the Movement Control Order when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit, ministers did not receive their pay for three months, and instead channelled the money to assist those who needed help. “I’m confident that my other ministerial colleagues also feel the same way, and they would not have any qualms about it as they all have the rakyat in mind,” she was quoted as saying.

Nancy told Sinar that she would not refuse if the government ordered a cut to the ministers’ salaries, but added that the suggestion should be put to Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz. “Ask the Finance Minister because he knows the true state of the country’s funds. It’s easier for him to explain compared to me,” she was quoted as saying.

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed told Sinar that he agreed with Rafidah’s proposal.

However, Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said that a 20 per cent cut of ministers and deputy ministers pay and allowances is not a concrete measure to help Malaysians struggling with the economic downturn.

He said there are more effective methods to deal with the rising cost of living, adding that there are many initiatives under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who sit and discuss these issues twice a week with other ministers involved.

“They will sit twice a week to discuss the rise of living costs, come up with plans like the recently announced electric tariff and chicken prices which would not be floated.

“Until today the government continues to subsidise RON95 at RM2.05 per litre. This is among the many steps and decisions made by the government to ease the hardship of the rakyat,” he told Sinar.