Elim­i­nat­ing over­laps in func­tions of min­istries

> Govt aims to man­age op­er­at­ing ex­pen­di­ture more ef­fi­ciently: Jo­hari

The Sun (Malaysia) - - MEDIA & MARKETING - BY EE ANN NEE

KUALA LUMPUR: The gov­ern­ment wants to elim­i­nate over­laps in the func­tions of min­istries in a bid to ef­fec­tively man­age its op­er­at­ing ex­pen­di­ture (opex), said Sec­ond Finance Min­is­ter Datuk Jo­hari Ab­dul Ghani.

“Du­pli­cat­ing ex­pen­di­ture among the min­istries... we’ll make sure we elim­i­nate that. If we an­a­lyse, quite a num­ber of min­istries are do­ing the same thing, for ex­am­ple en­tre­pre­neur-driven (roles), as well as re­search and de­vel­op­ment. We need to consolidate and look at it ef­fec­tively so that ev­ery dol­lar that we spend will ben­e­fit the rakyat di­rectly,” he told re­porters at the Na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce & In­dus­try of Malaysia (NCCIM) round­table ses­sion here yes­ter­day.

How­ever, in man­ag­ing opex, gov­ern­ment emol­u­ments can­not be cut, he said.

“That is our commitment to 1.6 mil­lion gov­ern­ment ser­vants. We need to pay them (salary) and pen­sion, for ex­am­ple. These two com­po­nents of ex­pen­di­ture will in­crease ev­ery year be­cause of in­cre­ments and bonuses.

“We need to man­age that and we want to make sure we in­crease the pro­duc­tiv­ity of ev­ery gov­ern­ment ser­vant and hope­fully in the long term, as the econ­omy grows, we don’t grow with the num­ber of staff,” said Jo­hari.

In view of the lower rev­enue due to the slump in oil prices, Jo­hari said the gov­ern­ment will fo­cus more on raky­at­cen­tric projects such as the build­ing of schools, hos­pi­tals, ru­ral roads and will put on hold projects which will al­le­vi­ate gov­ern­ment spend­ing.

Mega projects like the Pan Bor­neo High­way, Mass Rapid Tran­sit, Light Rail Tran­sit, High Speed Rail and East Coat Rail­ing which will bring long-term ben­e­fits to the peo­ple will be con­tin­ued, he said. “The five key de­vel­op­ment projects that we put in place hope­fully will stim­u­late the econ­omy and give mul­ti­plier ef­fect to small and medium in­dus­tries.”

In his key­note ad­dress, Jo­hari said Malaysia needs to have size­able and sus­tain­able re­serve funds to pro­vide sta­bil­ity and help in­su­late the econ­omy from the volatil­ity of com­mod­ity prices.

He said coun­tries like the United Arab Emi­rates and Saudi Ara­bia, with size­able re­serve funds of US$1.2 tril­lion and US$758 bil­lion re­spec­tively, are ex­am­ples of na­tions that have been suc­cess­ful in cush­ion­ing the im­pact of the sig­nif­i­cant de­cline of oil price on pub­lic spend­ing.

The de­cline in oil prices has re­sulted in the gov­ern­ment los­ing about RM30 bil­lion in rev­enue. In 2014, Malaysia’s rev­enue from the oil sec­tor was RM65 bil­lion, de­rived from loy­al­ties, petroleum tax and div­i­dend from Petronas. This was re­duced to RM30 bil­lion in 2015, which was a marked difference.

“We need to do some ad­just­ments in terms of our spend­ing,” said Jo­hari.

NCCIM vice-pres­i­dent Tan Sri K.K. Eswaran (left) pre­sent­ing a sou­venir to Jo­hari. On the right is NCCIM sec­re­tary-gen­eral Datuk Syed Hus­sein Al Hab­shee.

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