The Government spent RM7.2bil (S$2.8 billion) to hire private consulting firms in the past five years, says Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
In a written reply to Wong Chen (PKR-Kelana Jaya), Najib said the amount was based on statistics between 2009 and this year obtained from the Accountant-General of Malaysia.
"A total of RM721.89mil was spent on private consultants as of October this year.
"Last year, a total of RM1.824bil was used while RM1.797bil was used in 2011 for private consulting services," he added.
Najib said the Government has developed research and consultancy skills via public higher learning institutions and other agencies such as the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) and others.
"However, the abilities of government researchers are limited in terms of expertise and manpower.
"The Government still needs to appoint private firms to overcome these limitations," Najib said.
Later at the Parliament lobby, Wong questioned the large amount of public funds spent on government consultancy.
He added that expenditures on such firms has increased at an average of 13.5 per cent each year, which is double Malaysia's annual GDP growth rate.
"What was revealed is about RM125mil a month or RM4mil a day is spent on consulting firms. Such reliance on private consulting firms reflects the Barisan Nasional's lack of faith in the civil service. "The Auditor-General and Public Accounts Committee should now investigate the expenditures on private consulting firms in their next audit report."