KUALA LUMPUR – Opposition Chief, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim blatantly questioned the RM482 million allocated for management expenditure under the Prime Ministers’ Department (JPM) for Budget 2021, which also translates to an increment of 10.7 percent compared to year 2020.
The Member of Parliament (MP) of Port Dickson said that the budget should prioritise on the frontliners and the people who are affected by the ongoing pandemic.
“I would like to emphasize that when the government mentioned that this is the Covid-19 budget, we are giving RM300 to the police, frontliners, fishermen and such.
“But, we see an increment for JPM for the purpose of management amounting to RM482 million or an increment of 10.7 percent,” he said during the Budget 2021 debate at the Committee level at the Dewan Rakyat today.
Anwar also questioned the allocation to the salaries payment of political appointees under the JPM. According to him, it has no function when the country is facing the Covid-19, including the appointment of Special Envoys to the Middle East and China.
“The expenditure is rather high. 32 ministers, 38 deputy ministers and in JPM itself, there are five ministers and five deputy ministers. Looking into the list of positions under JPM, there are special advisor for media and communications, economic advisor, special affairs office, office of Special Envoy to the Middle East, office of Special Envoy to China, special advisor on public health, office of Special Envoy to Japan, Korea and Taiwan Office.
“I would like to ask about the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if we have to appoint (them) and the burden of the country and the people with the amount of high management expenditure under JPM? To me, those appointments are redundant with the role which could be carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our ambassadors.
“Why do we need to pay the salaries to the positions which are not effective in fighting Covid-19? Special Ambassadors appointed to wherever they go, all of them would remain in Kuala Lumpur during Covid-19,” he said.
Anwar also alleged that the government is trying to hide the expenditure for other political appointees under the allocations for JPM.
“Some are hidden. Earlier, we were discussing about the allocations for JASA, the allocations for the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) and NGOs. It seems like in JPM, we see the increment of emolument for contract staff amounting to RM200 million for 2021, an increment of RM181.4 million compared to the year before are for political contract appointees under JPM.
“It says that this is a caring government. What has the RM181.4 million allocation got to do with the sufferings of poor people who are waiting for the assistance by the so-called caring government?” he questioned.
He also requested Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to explain about the allocations given to JPM, especially for the purpose of political appointees.
“So, the political appointees would be hidden under JPM and I want the Prime Minister to answer today about the needs for that,” he said.
For the record, among the MPs appointed as Special Envoys are the MP of Marang Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to the Middle East and the MP of Bintulu Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing to China. – MalaysiaGazette