KUALA LUMPUR,Nov 30: Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today asked the reasons for increasing the budget allocation for the Prime Minister’s Department administrative cost by 10.7% since the money could be used for those in need during the Covid-19 crisis.
“A RM300 one-off payment has been given to policemen and fishermen but the Prime Minister’s Department gets RM482 million,” he said during the debate on the Supply Bill 2021 at the committee stage for the department today.
Anwar (PH-Port Dickson) said the Perikatan Nasional government has 32 ministers and 38 deputy ministers, including five ministers and five deputy ministers at the Prime Minister’s Department.
He also said there are various advisers, for sectors ranging from the media, economy and public health to relations with the Middle East, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
“What are the roles of the foreign minister and ambassadors?” he asked.
The PN government had previously appointed PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang as special envoy to the Middle East in early April, followed by the naming of PDP president Tiong King Sing as special envoy to East Asia two weeks later.
SUPP deputy president Richard Riot was also assigned as special envoy to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Anwar, who said he wanted a reply from Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, also said another RM200 million has been allocated as emoluments for contract staff and political appointments in the budget.
“This is an increase of RM181.4 million as compared to a year before. The money should be channelled to those in need,” he said.
The government is allocating a total of RM322.5 billion, or 20.6% of the country’s gross domestic product, for the budget.
Operating expenditure will account for RM236.5 billion, or 73.3%, of the budget, while development expenditure will be at RM69 billion or 21.4% of the allocations.
Another RM17 billion, or 5.3% of the amount, will be reserved for the Covid-19 Fund.