Good move to cut costs but more needs to be done

PETALING JAYA - The Government's initiative to cut costs on 11 fronts is a good move but it needs to do more to convince people that it is reducing expenditure for the benefit of the people, said Fomca.

Its secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj said in light of the expected increase in prices of goods, the people needed to see the government visibily reducing expenditure.

"We support the Government measure to cut expenditure but more must be done.

"For example, the process of tender should be more transparent to win back the people's confidence," he said.

He was commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Ra­zak's announcement that the Government would implement 11 measures to slash spending.

"The Government should show that money collected through taxes and revenues is being spent for the benefit of the people.

"There should be no leakage or wastage," he said.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general Abdul Halim Mansor lauded the Government's move, describing it as an essential initial move.

"The Government should also study continuous measures to convince the people of its intention to cut expenditure," he said, adding that overseas trips for government officers should also be scrapped.

Abdul Halim said all elected representatives, including MPs, should cut their expenditure.

"All of them should also do away with unnecessary allowances. For example, they should do away with driver's allowances as some of them do not even have drivers," he said.

Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad (MARC) chief economist Zahidi Alias said it was a positive move by the Government.

"The measures will cut down on some of the excesses in Government expenditure.

"The burden (of the country) such as high operating expenditures should be dealt in a holistic way and this is one of the ways - by ensuring we spend prudently."

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, Padang Rengas MP said he would follow the instructions by the Prime Minister.

"The 10 per cent entertainment allowance reduction won't make a difference. I will use my own money if need be," he said.

Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan said that the move showed the Government was willing to "walk the talk".

According to Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, such cost-cutting measures were timely.

"This is good news. This cost-cutting is fine," he said.

"Even at my ministry, we have been reducing on our own, trying to cut down on electricity use."

Former Cuepacs president Datuk Omar Osman said the cost-cutting measures were steps in the right direction.

"We support these moves, which are appropriate," he said.

PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, however, dismissed the cost-cutting measures as "penny wise, pound foolish".

"The cuts are so minor, the amount is peanuts. What we need is proper austerity and political commitment, not tokenism."

Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming echoed this, saying only a "symbolic figure" would be saved.