KUALA LUMPUR: The government needs to explain the reason for increasing the budget allocation for the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD) administrative cost, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pix) said.
Speaking during a debate in the Dewan Rakyat on the allocation for PMD, he questioned why the administrative cost had gone up by 10.7%.
“The money could be better used to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic and help those in need during this crisis.
“The RM11.7 billion allocation for the PMD under the Budget was RM1b more than this year,“ Anwar (PH-Port Dickson) said.
He said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin needs to explain why the PMD needs so many ministers and special envoys.
He pointed out the special envoys may not be effective as international travel would be limited throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added special envoys, who hold minister rank, were effectively overlapping with the duties of Malaysian ambassadors.
Anwar also hit out at the RM181 million allocation as emoluments for contract staff and political appointments in the budget.
He said the extra funds can be used to help the poor and the unemployed.
“Money can be used to improve the welfare of frontline workers battling Covid-19,“ he said.
He said while the entire Cabinet was top heavy with a total of 32 ministers, this was most apparent in the PMD which has five ministers and five more deputies.
The government has allocated RM322.5 billion, or 20.6% of the country’s gross domestic product, for the budget.
Operating expenditure will account for RM236.5 billion, or 73.3%, of the budget, while development expenditure will be RM69 billion or 21.4% of the allocations.
Another RM17 billion, or 5.3% of the amount, will be reserved for the Covid-19 Fund.
The budget for the Prime Minister’s Department was passed through a bloc vote, with 105 MPs supporting it, 95 against and 20 abstaining from voting.