2015 Budget shows that the Prime Minister has failed his promise to decrease unnecessary expenditure and to increase transparency in government spending

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 10th October, 2014

Prime Minister Najib has announced that the 2015 budget will incur an estimated expenditure of RM273.94 billion, an increase of RM9.74 billion from the announced 2014 budget of RM264.2, at increase of 3.7%.

At the same time, the Economic Report 2014/2015 has estimated that the amount spent on subsidies will be reduced from RM40.6b to RM37.7b, a decrease of RM2.9b or 7.1%. This is a result of the continued subsidy rationalisation program and expected increase in the price of petrol and diesel.

While the people will be burdened with an increase in the cost of living due to the subsidy rationalisation program and the introduction of GST in 2015, it is clear from the 2015 Budget that the government has not tightened its own belt.

According to the Economic Report 2014/2015, the amount spent on supplies and services, which is where much of the wastage that is reported year in year out in the National Audit Report comes from, is expected to rise from RM36.4b to RM38.1b, an increase of RM1.7b or 4.6%.

This is in spite of the promise made by Prime Minister Najib that the public sector will undertake 11 cuts in expenditure.[1]

At the same time, the estimated expenditure in the Prime Minister’s Office is expected to increase by RM2.6 billion which is the largest absolute increase among all the Ministries, even more than the RM2.03 billion increase in the Ministry of Education’s allocation. (See Table 1 below)

This includes items in the development expenditure which lacks total transparency in terms of the purpose of expenditure. For example, under the title ‘Projek Khas’ or special projects, the development expenditure has increased from RM180m in 2014 to RM1.61 billion in 2015, an increase of RM1.43b or a 793.1% increase!

This kind of black box spending is exactly what the Anti-Corruption NKRA under the Government Transformation Program (GTP) was and is trying to reduce. Sadly, it seems that the Prime Minister has not taken the advice of the unit within his own Ministry.

The upcoming debate sessions will present an opportune time for Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament to question the spending and policies of put forth in the 2015 Budget and for us to present our alternative policies, some of which have been outlined in the Pakatan Rakyat Alternative Budget 2015.

[1] http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/12/31/Costcutting-measures-start-tomorrow-Public-sector-will-see-11-steps-implemented-to-compensate-for-pr/

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