Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 10th
If government can increase oil prices from 41 to 63 per cent, why can’t
it slash the entertainment allowances of Ministers and deputy ministers
by 50 per cent?
The first of many questions that come to the mind of Malaysians on
the RM2 billion cost-cutting package announced by the Prime Minister,
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is:
If the government can increase oil prices from 41 to 63 per cent, why
can’t it slash the entertainment allowances of cabinet ministers and
deputy ministers by 50% and not just a paltry 10%?
The question becomes all the more poignant when it is disclosed that the
current entertainment allowances are RM18,865 for the prime minister,
RM15,015 for the deputy prime minister, RM12,320 for ministers and
RM6,000 for deputy ministers.
What about all the other allowances, including tips allowances which run
into hundreds of ringgit a day, which ministers and deputy ministers are
For a start, all the various forms of allowances which cabinet ministers
and deputy ministers are entitled to should be made public not only as a
a form of leadership by example in terms of accountability, transparency
and good governance but also to demonstrate that the ministers and
deputy ministers feel the pain of the people caused by the
unconscionable and callous oil price hikes ranging from 41 to 63 per
Abdullah’s statement that the cost-cutting measures he announced
yesterday “will not be the first or the last” and that many other
announcements will be made by the government is testimony that these
measures are “after thoughts” after the public anger and outrage over
the brutal and hefty oil price increases when mitigation measures should
have been part of any Cabinet decision causing far-reaching inflationary
repercussions imposing great financial hardships on all vulnerable
sectors of the Malaysian population.
The public anger and outrage at the unconscionable and callous oil price
hikes had been aggravated by the lack of any sign that the government is
prepared to end its waste, extravagance, misappropriation of public
funds, lack of accountability and the many mega-scandals like the
Petronas billions and the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ)
bailout scandal – further example that the Cabinet had not learnt the
lessons of the March 8 “political tsunami” to be a caring, responsible,
just and people-oriented administration.
It is no wonder that Malaysians regard the RM2 billion cost-cutting
measures, described as the “first” of such measures, as not only too
little and too late, but shows lack of seriousness to provide proper
government leadership by example to lead Malaysians to tide through the
hard economic hard times facing the country.
Kit Siang, DAP
Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor