Scrooging

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak this evening announced an eleven items on Malaysian Government’s latest approach to reduce public spending, in the wake of public outcry towards the ‘subsidy rationalising’ policy and approach expected in 2014. Too many Malaysians especially the low income bracket suffered and groused as a result of increased in retail prices, beginning with the 20 sen increase of RON95 petrol and diesel on 3 September 2013 and total withdrawal of subsidy on sugar.

30 December 2013| last updated at 08:47PM

PM announces measures to cut public sector expenditure

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KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today announced 11 measures to slash public sector expenditure beginning Jan 1, 2014, one of which is the reduction by 10 per cent of the entertainment allowance of ministers and deputy ministers.

These measures are in accordance with the government’s desire to practise more prudent spending in the new year, he said in a statement issued here.

He said the decision to introduce the measures was made following a discussion with Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.

Najib said the government would also reduce the entertainment allowance of senior government officers on the Jusa C Grade and above by between five and 10 per cent.

Furthermore, the toll facility for senior government officers would also be reduced by between RM50 and RM100 or 30 per cent, he said.

Najib, who is also the finance minister, said the government would also amend the eligibility for domestic and international flight tickets for civil servants, whereby civil servants on the Jusa C Grade and below will only be eligible for the economy class on domestic flights.

The government would also reduce by five per cent the electricity utility cost at all ministries, departments, agencies and government premises, he said.

The prime minister said the government would freeze fresh applications for renovation of government offices while optimising use of existing office space to reduce rental of offices premises.

Najib said the government would tighten the appointment of consultants for government physical projects, including conduct of feasibility studies.

The proposal for appointment of these consultants would have to be submitted to the National Development Planning Committee chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Government for prior approval.

Najib said the government would also cut down on the use of event management companies as well as the awarding of door gifts or souvenirs during government conferences or events involving members of the administration and civil servants.

He also said that the government would reduce the food and drinks as well as the use of buntings and banners when organising conferences, seminars, meetings, courses, workshops or any official government function.

The government would also apply the National Blue Ocean Strategy approach by optimising the use of the 1Malaysia Training Centre (1MTC) and facilities at government-owned training institutions for organising courses, seminar and workshops, he said. — BERNAMA

Read more: PM announces measures to cut public sector expenditure – Latest – New Straits Timeshttp://www.nst.com.my/latest/pm-announces-measures-to-cut-public-sector-expenditure-1.451149?cache=03%2F7.205584#ixzz2oz1gY4Qt

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The Malaysian Government needed to restructure and rationalize subsidy, cost the Federal Government RM43 billion per annum. Part of the roll out of this strategy to reduce budget deficit is the systematic withdrawal of certain subsidies and the introduction of consumption tax, GST, from 2015.

This announcement is thought to be in the right direction of the government making the initiatives, instead of asking the common rakyat to be “Spend thrift and change their lifestyle”.

This is not withstanding the fact that certain Cabinet Ministers making really stupid remark about “No complaints lodged in reflective of the rakyat’s acceptance in the rising cost of production and retail”.

Domestic Trade and Consumerism Minister Dato’ Seri Hassan Malek’s faux pas, as per reported by The Malay Mail:

Silence means tacit approval for price hikes, says minister

DECEMBER 27, 2013

Pakatan rally against assessment hikes at DBKL building in Kuala Lumpur, December 16, 2013. —  Picture by Saw Siow FengPakatan rally against assessment hikes at DBKL building in Kuala Lumpur, December 16, 2013. — Picture by Saw Siow FengKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 —

The failure by Malaysians to officially complain of price increases caused by government measures indicated their approval for the policies, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek said today.

He also insisted that prices were determined by consumers and that the government has no role or power over the matter.

“We haven’t received any complaints. People have not complained, which means there is support. We don’t control the price, the consumers control it,” he was quoted as saying by The Star on its website today.

Since September, Putrajaya has embarked on aggressive cost-cutting measures after pressure grew for it to rein in a chronic budget deficit that traces back to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 and which has left Malaysia’s national debt at just below a critical legal ceiling.

It has pledged to bring its overspending down from around 5 per cent of gross domestic product now to 3 per cent by 2015.

Among others, it has reduced fuel subsidies, removed price control for sugar, allowed an increase in electricity tariffs and confirmed the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) all within the space of four months.

Yesterday, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad urged Putrajaya to balance the national budget by trimming its own expenditure before looking to add to the financial burdens of Malaysians.

The nation’s longest serving prime minister pointed out that there was ample opportunity to reduce wastages and leakages as evidenced by the annual Auditor-General’s report, before resorting to new and higher taxes.

Today, Hassan disagreed with Dr Mahathir’s suggestion but said the government would take it into consideration.

“We will look at Tun’s views as well as those of the public. We want the best system.”

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/silence-means-tacit-approval-for-price-hikes-says-minister#sthash.yP9ibSgt.dpuf

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Four days ago Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad boldly point out in his blog that the Malaysian Government need to check on its spending first, before passing the burden of the budget deficit and buck to the rakyat.

An extract from Bernama report on Prime Minister Najib’s fifth budget tabled 25 October 2013:

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak tabled Friday the 2014 Budget amounting to RM264.2 billion, aimed at invigorating economic activity, strengthening fiscal management, inculcating excellence in human capital, intensifying urban and rural development and ensuring the well-being of the people towards achieving a developed nation status.

When tabling the budget themed “Strengthening Economic Resilience, Accelerating Transformation and Fulfilling Promises” in Dewan Rakyat on Friday, Najib who is also the Finance Minister said RM217.7 billion was allocated for operating expenditure and RM46 billion for development.

The operating expenditure includes RM63.6 billion for emoluments, RM36.6 billion for supplies and services, RM114.5 billion for fixed charges and grants, RM1.4 billion for purchase of assets and the remaining RM1.5 billion for other expenditure.

From the Development Expenditure of RM46.5 billion, a sum of RM29 billion was allocated to the economic sector, a sum of RM10.5 billion was allocated for the social sector, including education, training, health, welfare, housing, community development; RM3.9 billion for the security sector; RM1.1 billion for general administration and RM2 billion for contingencies.

Najib said the government’s revenue collection is estimated at RM224.1 billion, an increase of RM4 billion from 2013.

*************

Probably the Federal Government is not as reckless as the DAP Penang State Government, where the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng would buy a brand new Mercedes Benz S300L W221 to replace his 18 years old official S320L. Never the less,  so many CAPEX of various Ministries’ and Agencies’ spending are far from being spend thrift.

Prime Minister Najib as the Minister in-charge of Lembaga Kemajuan Tanah Persekutuan (Federal Land Development Authority or FELDA) should also check on investment acquisitions such as the RM500 million serviced apartment-hotel in Bayswater, London W2. The investment has no relations to FELDA, a Federal Government agency incorporated more than 55 years ago to restructure land development programs in the form of communal plantations.

FELDA’s serviced apartment-hotel in Bayswater, The Grand Plaza

What is also pertinent for Prime Minister Najib as the Finance Minister to be successful in his austerity drive is to vastly improve on project management, the requisition and delivery system, thus avoiding wastage and reducing efficiency. These items have been raised and highlighted by  the Auditor General, in which were raised in Parliamentary sittings in bouth houses and under constant radar of the media.

The Star story:

Published: Tuesday October 1, 2013 MYT 11:36:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday October 1, 2013 MYT 2:19:01 PM

Auditor General’s report highlights five general weaknesses

BY LOSHANA K SHAGAR

KUALA LUMPUR: The Auditor General’s report on seven projects and activities by government statutory bodies highlighted five general weaknesses.

In general the weaknesses were improper payment, work or supplies not according to specifications, low quality or inappropriate, unreasonable delays, wastage, weakness in management of products and assets.

Auditor General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang said on Tuesday, among the reasons were carelessness in adhering to procedures fixed by the Government, lack of attention to detail when planning projects or fixing scopes and specifications of tenders and no frequent monitoring of contractors, negotiators or suppliers.

He also mentioned reasons like lack of skill in project management, late decisions on acquisitions, incomplete and outdated agency information systems, lack of attention towards effectiveness or impact of a project, and lack of funds for asset management.

The seven government statutory bodies audited were Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Employees Provident Fund, Retirement Fund (Incorporated) (KWAP) and the Accountant General’s Department of Malaysia.

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The “Thirteen Million Plus Ringgit” question; Is this austerity drive genuine and eventually across the board or in substance, it is just ‘Penny wise, Pound foolish’?

Cutting a small fraction of salary, allowances and entitlement of Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Senior Government Officers would be meaningless if all these excesses highlighted by the Auditor General and unrelated investment and asset acquisitions still carry on, business as usual.

Many of policies and approach planned and being development are with the input and active participation of persons who play the role as very tight advisers and close aides to Prime Minister Najib. New agencies such as PEMANDU and TERAJU are incorporated, where professionals are brought in to do macro-planning role and paid super exorbitant salary.

A lot of the processes and outcome from all these ‘experiments’ are actually expensive, in effective and in the long term is counter productive to bigger agenda and existing policies.

Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Chariman Dato’ Nur Jazlan Mohamed’s advice to Prime Minister Najib to change advisers and aides:

Nur Jazlan: PM perlu penasihat baharu

WARTAWAN SINAR HARIAN
30 Disember 2013
  • Datuk Nur Jazlan MohamedDatuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed
 1 / 1 

SHAH ALAM – Ahli Parlimen Pulai (BN), Nur Jazlan Mohamed hari ini menyarankan agar Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak mengambil penasihat baru,bagi memberikan idea baharu terhadap kepimpinan PM.

Jelas Nur Jazlan yang juga merupakan Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Wang Negara (PAC),  kepercayaan terhadap penasihat-penasihat lama terbukti gagal memberikan keputusan lebih baik kepada BN, selain melantik konsultan asing untuk memberikan imej positif kepada kerajaan juga baginya perlu diketepikan sama sekali.

“PM perlu menghimpunkan penasihat-penasihat baharu beliau bagi memberikan idea baharu supaya lebih memahami denyut nadi rakyat.

“…kepercayaan terhadap penasihat lama terbukti gagal memberikan keputusan lebih baik kepada BN dalam PRU13 yang lalu, sekaligus memberikan imej negatif kepada BN.

“…kini, setiap kata-kata kerajaan BN menjadi satu bahan gurauan dan momokan rakyat sehingga dilihat sukar untuk kembali meraih semula sokongan daripada rakyat,” katanya dalam penulisan terbarunya.

Mengulas lanjut, beliau menegaskan rakyat sebenarnya sedar pembangkang juga tidak sebaik BN, namun oleh kerana mereka (rakyat) berada dalam keadaan marah sudah pasti mahu mencari mangsa untuk melepaskan kemarahan mereka.

“Rakyat sebenarnya, sedar pembangkang juga tidak sebaik BN, tetapi dek kerana mereka berada dalam keadaan marah, sudah tentu mereka mencari mangsa.

“Oleh itu, bagi saya kegagalan BN mengoptimumkan penggunaan jentera parti memberikan penerangan kepada rakyat akan memberi padah besar kepada BN sendiri,” katanya.

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Prime Minister Najib must provide the leadership to demonstrate seriousness in the austerity drive, beyond trimming his own salary and allowances. Immediate examples include the total ban of his wife’s utility of the Malaysian Government private jets ACJ319, BBJ, Bombardier Global Express or Falcon 900 if she is not traveling with him and big reduction on her own entourage, private office and security detail staffing and entitlement.

After all, Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor is just a consort and not an official, unlike elected representatives or commissioned officers of His Majesty’s Government.

Published in: on December 30, 2013 at 23:59  Comments (13)  

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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Why the need to question the acquisition of a hotel by a Malay company? This matter had already been highlighted that those who question it were the evil Non Malays seeking to undermine Malay interests. There must be consistency in your statements. You cannot condemn DAP and Non Malays when they make statements against Al Bukharry and at the same time criticise Felda. Malay companies are beyond any criticism by any quarter and do so means either supporting the Neo MinHou agenda, a traitor to the race or a low class hypocrite.

    • Probably you don’t read too well and/or not well read sort of person.

      The Grand Plaza was acquired by a Federal Government agency, FELDA. Not a company.

      A Federal Government agency which was formed to restructure land development programs. Hospitality was never part of the agenda of the Federal Land Development Authority or commonly known as FELDA.

      If FELDA has spare cash in the amount of RM600 million, it should be spent on socio-economic development programs and projects in any of the 117 FELDA settlements. Not buy a property in London W2.

  2. If Najib’s actions were a reaction to Tun Dr Mahathir’s advice in his blog, that’s good.

    If it appears as a flip flop that TDM can build on to get Najib replaced by UMNO, like Tun Dol was, it’s better still.

    No two-way about it. Slash, slash, slash Government expenditure other than for development purposes. And do something about what Rosmah has been doing. Using executive jet for whatever official purpose it may be. And don’t let her handle projects funded by the Government.

    For goodness sake, Najib, hear the grumblings by the rakyat. You do all those, then we can shift focus to Khalid Gagap increasing his and Pakatoon Selangor politicians’ salaries to even higher than yours.

  3. BD,

    Tabung Haji is buying their 3rd property in London (source: http://www.costar.co.uk/en/assets/news/2013/December/Malaysian-fund-set-to-buy-Unilever-HQ/). Why London? Why buy when RM:GPD is at RM5.4? Tabung Haji CEO is currently in London to seal the deal. Also, why must Tabung Haji buy via broker, Gatehouse. That is the same broker that “advised” Tabung Haji to purchase SJ Berwin’s distinctive City offices at 10 Queen Street Place, EC4, for £165m in 2012.

    Malaysian fund set to buy £75m Unilever HQ
    By Paul Norman – Thursday, December 12, 2013 15:02

    Malaysian haji pilgrims fund Lembaga Tabung Haji is in exclusive talks to buy Unilever House at Leatherhead Office Park in Surrey from LondonMetric Property for close to £75m a net initial yield of circa 6%, CoStar News understands, underlining the increased appetite among foreign investors for assets outside the central London core.
    The deal, brokered by Gatehouse, would be Lembaga Tabung Haji’s third major asset buy in the UK and its first outside of central London.

    CoStar News revealed in March of this year that it had gone under offer on the £205m purchase of 151 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1 from Ivanhoé Cambridge.

    That purchase followed the completion of Tabung Haji’s deal last September to buy SJ Berwin’s distinctive City offices at 10 Queen Street Place, EC4, for £165m, reflecting an initial yield of 5%. The deal was first revealed by CoStar News in July, when Tabung Haji entered into talks to buy the 221,198 sq ft block from Irish investor Jaguar Capital.

    Further underlining the growing appeal of the South East office market to foreign and institutional investors, market sources this week said Tabung Haji had seen off fierce competition from Israeli, Middle Eastern and UK institutional bidders to secure exclusive talks on Unilever’s headquarters.

    CoStar News revealed in October that LondonMetric Property had brought to market Unilever House at Leatherhead Office Park in Surrey for £72.04m – more than £10m or a 15% premium to what it paid for the building 18 months ago.

    LondonMetric appointed Knight Frank and Dowley Turner Real Estate to sell the 179,457 sq ft building, which is let in its entirety to Unilever UK for a further 10 years.

    The property was purpose built for Unilever in 2008 by Landid and RREEF and is spread over ground and two upper floors.

    It is let on a fully repairing and insuring lease expiring 18 November 2023. The current passing rent of £4,763,502 pa equates to £26.97 per sq ft.

    London & Stamford, now the merged London Metric, completed its acquisition of Unilever House at Leatherhead Office Park in Surrey for £61.15m in June 2012, reflecting a net initial yield of 6.85%.

    The vendor was Scottish Widows Investment Partnership and Orchard Street Investment Management.

    Dowley Turner Real Estate advised L&S; Knight Frank acted for Scottish Widows and Orchard.

    The building is located at Leatherhead office park where other occupiers include Kellogg Brown & Root and CGI Logica. There is currently no vacancy on the park.

    Unilever moved to the park in 2009 after securing a prelet from developers Landid and RREEF in 2007. The building was forward sold in the same year to Invista.

    The Clerical Medical Managed Fund transferred from Invista Real Estate Asset Management to Scottish Widows Investment Partnership in May of 2011.

    Lembaga and Gatehouse are advised by Savills; LondonMetric by Knight Frank and Dowley Turner Real Estate.

    London Metric has looked to take advantage of a booming South East office investment market, which is seeing increasingly fierce demand for stock from an ever widening pool of investors, many of which have been priced out of prime central London markets in the wake of stiff competition from cash rich overseas funds.

    According to KF and DTRE’s marketing, Q3 turnover was recorded at £737m, the highest since Q4 2011 and 147% above the five-year quarterly average of £298m. Yields for prime 15-year income now stand at circa 5.5% at the beginning of Q4 2013.

    pnorman@costar.co.uk

    • I thought Mr CEO, Ismee said in an interview with BT on 31 Oct 2013 “while London is high on the list of investors, for now, due to the rise in the pound sterling, we would rather be reviewing the market than entering into transactions”.

      And now buy UK property when GBP is trading at RM5.4074? Cakap tak serupa bikin?

      Thursday, 31 October 2013 07:01

      Now, Lembaga Tabung Haji too wants to invest OVERSEAS

      LONDON – Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) has used 60 per cent of its foreign property investment quota and is on the lookout for new strategic investments, said managing director Datuk Ismee Ismail.

      He said the pilgrimage fund is keen to explore Australia, London, Mecca and Madinah “but the timing and price have got to be right”.

      He added that while London is high on the list of investors, “for now, due to the rise in the pound sterling, we would rather be reviewing the market than entering into transactions”.

      Ismee was speaking after signing a £225 million (RM1.14 billion) syariah-compliant financing agreement with Maybank Islamic Bhd, Standard Chartered Saadiq and OCBC Islamic Bank, in conjuction with the three-day 9th World Islamic Economic Forum, here, on Tuesday.

      The financing covers 60 per cent of LTH’s recent purchase of two properties in London, Ismee said.

      He said the deals were made when the ringgit was traded at 4.85 against the pound sterling.

      It has since risen to 5.1 when the financing was secured.

      “So, we have made some financing profit,” he said, pointing out the reason why London is suitable for property investments.

      Ismee said LTH has a RM42 billion fund and 20 per cent, or RM8.4 billion, is allocated for property investment. Of that amount, 30 per cent is for investing in properties abroad.

      “To date, we have used 60 per cent of the overseas portion.”

      BT

  4. While Najib and the BN gomen at least makes a serious attempt to cut costs, the Star to day reports that Guan Eng gets a new Mercedes-Benz S300L as official car. That’s DAP gomen for you.

    What the ….

    • But the supporters of this Tokong have all come out to defend him. Red Bean army is still operating. They are like worms lying underneath a rock and will crawl out to defend Tokong and DAP as and when necessary. Imagine this kind of people holding power in Putrajaya, which is their ambition.

  5. With the latest measures, everyone is unhappy !

  6. Whatever the BN as led by the UMNO with the 13 component parties does, please, please do not reduce the subsidies on rice and flour.

  7. […] Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak the morning before New Year’s eve probably driven a start of an even bigger spending cuts. Especially the excessive and luxury bit, which is more likely many times over as compared to the […]

  8. […] of a populist political leader, Prime Minister Najib announced what seemingly is a ‘Penny wise, pound foolish’ 11 point austerity drive on 30 December 2013. Probably his advisers had the believe if not the impression that more people […]

  9. […] 11 point austerity drive which Prime Minister Najib announced on 30 December 2013 has been seen as ‘insincere’ to substantially reduce OPEX and budget deficit, […]

  10. […] 30 December 2013, Prime Minister Najib announced the first round of 11 points ‘austerity drive’ which many saw as insincere, amidst the ostentatious and opulence lifestyle of the first couple globe trotting in super luxury […]


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