Call on Cabinet Ministers to set an example of belt-tightening by cancelling all overseas holidays plans this year and spending their annual leave inside the country

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The Information Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Rahmat said in Johore Bahru yesterday that "It is time for the people to show their love for the country by sacrificing some comforts to ease the impact of the ringgitís depreciation and fall of the stock market".

He also spoke of the need for Malaysians to adopt "a new lifestyle - one that will remind us that not every day is a sunny day".

The Information Minister is not the only Minister calling for belt-tightening among the people. Yesterday, the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik called on Malaysians to help overcome the nationís economic difficulties by using local products and services and reducing overseas travel.

He said changes in attitudes and sacrifices had to be made to ride over the effects of the weakened ringgit and depressed stock market.

He said Malaysians didnít have to buy imported products because the locally-made items were of similar value and quality and the people should visit the numerous interesting and cheap domestic destinations instead of travelling abroad.

Before Cabinet Ministers can credibly call on the people to tighten their belts, they should set an example that they are also individually tightening their belts.

I call on Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to set an individual example of belt-tightening by cancelling all their overseas holidays plans this year and spending their annual leave inside the country. In the past, most Cabinet Ministers will go overseas, with many congregating in London, during the December holidays, to the extent that sometimes a Cabinet meeting could not be held for lack of a quorum. Let this phenomenon not happen this year with Ministers setting the example in adopting a savings culture of reducing expenses. I hope the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday can take such a decision to show Malaysians that Ministers can set an example in belt-tightening.

On Thursday night, after chairing the UMNO Supreme Council meeting and announcing the proposed National Economic Action Council, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Mahathir Mohamad referred to ten directives which are to be carried out immediately to restore confidence in the countryís economic management, overcome currency depreciation and reverse the downtrend in the KLSE. They are:

The Cabinet should show its seriousness in wanting to promote a savings culture of reducing expenses in the country by being firm on the issue of 800 Mercedes Benz stranded in Port Klang, by standing firm on its earlier decision that the 1,050 limousines servicing the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport should be 100% locally-made Proton Perdana to cut down on imports and not Mercedes Benz.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong