Sunday, June 15, 2008

Trimming the government’s fat/ 替政府“瘦身”

Because of the rising fuel price, the government needs to balance its budget so as not to affect the credit rating of Malaysia at the international market. From the cost cutting announcement made by the PM, we save about RM2 billion per year. Our operating budget is about RM128.8 billion and development is about RM48.1 billion per year. So, the RM2 billion cut is insignificant. The 10% cut in Minister’s allowance is just symbolic.

Malaysia has this culture that when there is a function, a lot of expenditure are incurred on trivial things in order to make it a big splash. There is a lot of wastage on food and souvenirs. Even at the state level, the same sin is committed. There is one Ministry where every weekend, there are seminars throughout the whole country and this are often held in 5 star hotels and if there are non in the town, they will seek the best hotel in town. Another favourite outing for Ministry’s staffs is brainstorming. When I was the Minister, I prohibited brainstorming sessions to be held outside KL since brainstorming requires your brain rather than facilities of hotels. At that time, I even prevented functions to be held in hotel unless the crowd is big and international. A lot of ministry staffs like to hold functions in the hotel, away from Putrajaya because there are less work and more claim for mileage if its more than 30km from Putrajaya. This expenditure can be very substantial in any ministries. I see no reason why the government is worried that if less function is held in hotel, it will affect their bottom line. Hotels should be dependant on their in house guest rather than to be dependant on government’s function. There is over provision of food and tea break. We should copy from China. I had the opportunity of attending a number of conferences in China where the breakfast, tea break, lunch and dinner during function and meeting are simple. Why must we spend RM200 for food per day per person? If the government start throwing out all these unnecessary frails of the daily operating expenditure, we save well over more than RM2 billion a year.

We are famous for building the longest cake, the longest flag, longest popiah, a lot of forms but no value added component. Malaysia should condemn ministers and ministries in undertaking such program at this time of cost cutting. We spend a lot on gimmicks. Some gimmicks needs expenditure of RM150, 000 – RM200, 000. Why do we need a gimmick? It is the content of seminar that is more important. Having cultural performance as part of entertainment should also be toned down.

All these efforts would save the government billions every year. Look at how Singapore conducts its official ceremony, including international ceremonies!


Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...

Only with a very big show
Can a big pocket hole blow
Without any real value to grow
Except for some vanity to glow

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 150608
Sun. 15th June 2008.

lovemalaysia said...

Just look at last year Merdeka 50th celebration and calculate on it. How much money our BN goverment have brutaly spent on it??? Have they evr consider into it before they spent??? The answer is "No". They are just big spenders and AAB just melangit like god in the sky.
Spend first, talk and cut rakyat's benefits later.....
Why do they need so much monthly entertainment allowances??? This means they are very free to go for entertainment (banyak masa untuk bersembang dan berlanja) rather than do their important job to tackle and solve problems! They have so much time for entertainments but no time to operasi or even pay their personal visits to rural areas and look personally into rakyat's primary needs...
King-Thailand went to see his rakyat needs and pains. Therefore he serve his kingdom for so many years and all of his rakyat really loves him.
How often can we see this in Malaysia not taking about our kings not even our PM and Deputies except for election reasons and purposes...

CK said...

It's great, but is the Govt doing it?
Why cut 10% when we can just say, let's do away with the allowance unless necessary?

That's the whole problem with BN. Smaller component party cannot say or comment on UMNO.

That's is why MCA lost support in the first place. I believe we are Malaysian. Why even categorize it with MCA, MIC or UMNO?
Isn't all 3 parties share the same ideology?
Perhaps not.
After so many years, we are still harping on racial issues, when Malaysian as a whole should unite as one.

Why let UMNO always threaten in their talk that Malays will be marginalised when we all knows that it will never be the case.

Malays will always be bumiputra as per stated in the constitutions. I think it's high time that MCA should rebrand itself and "DISBAND" . Create a multiracial party. I believe that there are many Bumiputra outthere would support the ideology.

And again, great post Dr. Chua.

Pearls said...

To begin with, the fault of such indulgence lies solely with the minister. Think of it, if the minister has been strict about such things and the message trickled down to the kadams are such, do you think these kadams will dare to take opportunities to have a "jolly good time"??

Of course nobody can fault these kadams for wanting to have a "jolly good time" under "company expenses".. It is just human nature to be greedy especially when kadams know for sure, they will not be able to afford such "good times" themselves and like you have said, having functions outside far far away from Putrajaya is a splendid idea to make extra income. Most staff are like that.

In my years of working and occassionally crossing path with mnisters, I have noted that most ministers are very arrogant and there is always a need to pleased them or to shower them and treat them like LORDS. That! to me is utterly NONSENSE..And that! is also the reason why any function by any government department, may it brain STOMPING or ribben cutting or launches or seminars or duno what else, there is always a big big hoohaa about having everything perfect! And having everything perfect cost moolah!

Yes, you are right about trimming the fats.. it is also about the ministers waking up to reality that they are not LORDs and therefore shouldnt have all the fat trimmings to glorify themselves. Yes, a lot of savings can come from cutting down all these "jolly good time". Look at Penang, no more big makan every month, Minister has been very strict with such things, Lim Guan Eng takes economy and have no bodyguards, outriders and duno what else to accompany him.. No FRILLS...SIMPLE and EFFICIENT!

Can that Najib ape such frugal actions?

Can our Badawi realise that cutting 10% of their digusting large amount of "entertainment" allowance is an insult to everybody who carries a Mykad and pay tax? Yah!! anyone with half a brain would be insulted by this 'sandiwara'!

Can Badawi wake up to the fact that the term "CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE" is not for us but them, the ministers? Some of us have not had any holidays for the last 5 years due to the ever increasing cost of living and yet, our ministers who earn big bucks with perks continue to have paid holidays thrown in. Who needs to change lifestyle here? BUGGER!

Can all the ministers learn to have integrity and honor and do their given job with respect?

Yes, every government around the world have learnt that they are answerable to their people and therefore, have learnt the bitter lesson of being humble and the need to carry out their duties with integrity and pride. For those government who has not, akin to some big time guerilla government in some god forsaken land in Africa and ourselves, I can only say, the day will come when blood will be spilled to rectify such big wastage and arrogance!

NEIL said...

Dr,Right it's true. The gov't is very fond of doing thing in a lavish way but still infact if properly supervise the cost won't be that high.Most of the time the lavish do are being done to look lavish and 'expensive'.The price are jack up many times but the quality of the work is third class.And when the celebration is over they take whatever is reuseable home.See the Gawai Dayak Open House 2008 celebration at the Stadium Perpaduan in kuching on 14 june,attended by PM.The celebration alone cost 4 million,not including the vips flying in first class,hotels accomodation,uniforms etc.All in all the celebration cost at a whopping sum of at least 4.5 million.The morning after you can see all that is lying in the rain,cloth torn or stolen,plywoods,bulbs,carpets etc being left to rot so the next time they have to buy new again.It's all being design to use once and not reuseable.What a waste of the rakyat's money.But alas this is just peanuts for the gov't.The gov't is so extravagant that this dos don't bother them co's it is done to benefit certain groups of cronies.I think the worst is corruption whereby it benefit only a few guys.It' never ending. The day all this stops we will be like s'pore,but that is a dream too far away to realise.Here the more participants in unlawful act the merrier.That why our country is always rank FIRST from the bottom.When you ponders about all this losses, one wonders why after 50 years of independence we cannot solve this silly problems.Ah! maybe it's purposely design to GET RICH QUICK without using too much brains.

bexe said...

Judging from simple math, if a 10% cut = RM 2B, then the overall expenditure for entertainment is RM20B?
Dr. isn't this obscene?

Nur said...

Dear Dr Chua
I really agree wz u. our government always spend much for nothing and do nothing for something.
(no wonder the way u re really same like Tun,that's only u re fight for chinese right and Tun fights for Malays right)

Lysendar said...

Dear Dr. Chua,

I don't thinking cutting the 10% of the entertainment fee will be be a very good idea. How much is the 10% only? RM 1000 of the RM 10000? And how much is their salary? May i know how much is the total benefits that the MPs or the Miniters get from the government? I think some of them do not know how to caculate!! RM 2 billion is nothing and can't help much for the country! If it is RM 20 billion, yes, it does make a different.
By the way, congratulation to Dr. Chua for the first round of party election. I, orang BP will always support you. God will bless you....

Yoke Len said...

Hi Mr. Chuah,
Although I reside in Singapore, I am constantly in touch with my family in Malaysia. My bro-in-law is a MCA member. I recall the unpleasant arguments I used to have with him, another bro-in-law and friends during "Malaysia good old days"! It was tough explaining to them that the tension between the two nations was actually a diversion tactic. The papers in Malaysia were always splashed with unpleasant image about Singapore, whilst the papers in Singapore concentrated mostly on economic and world affairs (important for 'O', 'A' levels & Uni papers). Strangely, just like a fad, such news disappeared overnight when the new government took over.

None of my "counterparts in Malaysia" has acknowledged this to me, but it is satisfaction enough to hear them having negative thoughts about the MCA now.

My sister told me that there are very good people in MCA, e.g. Chua Jui Meng, Chua Soi Lek, etc. I asked her why they are still with MCA. She replied that MCA members just "pass down the generations".

Your blogs make good sense, and I respect you for your values (uphill task). Keep up the good work.

P.S. Are you sure you do not want to offer your services to the Spore government (like Khaw Boon Hwa, MOH, Dr. Hong Hai!)? You would be very welcome, and better appreciated.

Causeway citizen

H J Angus said...

I agree with you on cutting unnecessary costs.

Even the USA uses simple opening ceremonies. Once there was an official opening of a building and all the guy did was to cut a ribbon to unveil a plague.

No gizmos, fireworks or beautifully attired model. Even balloons should be retricted as they cause pollution.

Chee Yong said...

It will be interesting Dr Chua for you to comment on Anwar's latest comment on MCA MPs possiblity of crossing over to Pakatan Rakyat. Please state your stand. Where will you go should this happen? Will you hop to Pakatan Rakyat as well or do you stay in BN?

jbslowman said...


you are right! why should we spend unnecessarily? especially on other people's money (tax payer money = our money) that the government servant owe us a fiduciary duty to ensure all expenses are held accountable for!

the case will be different if we have a big and deep pocket! since the country is now in hot soup caused by high crude oil price and the rakyat is pressed to swallow the effect of high oil price, the government should increase productivity by keeping the operation cost low!

frankly speaking most rakyat does not mind paying the civil servant higher salary if the efficiency could be increased correspondingly. what happen now is, we are practicing 5-day working week and huge salary adjustment last year, we do not feel any increase in productivity and delivery efficiency in the public delivery system except for those corporatized agency such as ROC and ROB.

CCM (malay = SSM) is very efficient now, especially in issuing compounds. nevertheless, the law is there, so, the new corporatized agency is merely enforcing the provision of law. nobody could challenge that. to me, after an agency is corporatized, what's the most important is to switch the reporting and controlling system from enforcement regime to a more business minded approach.

actually, most of the lodgment and updating of documents to CCM could be done online instead of asking businessmen to attend to these matters via agent or even worst, for ROB cases, the business registration and renewal, need to be attended by the owner himself as no agent is allowed!

there was a big hoo-haa when the regulation started. the reason given was too many false business registration using 3rd party NRIC and some of those business failed or ended-up in dispute. This is the typical way of how corporatized agency solve problem: since you have a foot problem, then, they will go to the extreme to chop it off to ensure there will not have this same problem in future. what's a nonsense!

To lots of young Malaysian, most of us are computer literate. why not computerize or make those application works online? lets take Singapore as example: if i need to update ROC or ROB info, i could do it anytime and any where so long as i'm a registered user of the service. another example is passport application, why not make it simple and make renewal of passport online instead of wasting rakyat's time to travel to Immigration office and wait there like idiots? We should allow these simple process to be available online, pay the fee online, receive notice via email and all we need to do is to collect the document in person at the office instead of traveling twice to settle one issue.

if our civil service delivery system is to continue this way, i can tell you, more complaints and more unsatisfied voters will choose the opposition to let them to manage this country!

以前我不相信'换人做做看'这建议.不过在油价上涨41%后, 我真的有这个冲动想在下个大选时'换人做做看'.

meiyen said...

Anwar was Mahathir's understudy. He has been making all kinds of wild statements like his former master. But so far nothing has come to pass. How can anyone trust a chameleon!

Robert Teh said...

Soi Lek,

You seem to be the odd man out in MCA and sometimes I wonder why you choose to remain in a party that's without a doubt, is playing 2nd Fiddle to UMNO. You guys are supposed to be 'equals' in a coalition but UMNO is blatantly calling the shots in the BN.

What makes you think you could change the current hegemony by UMNO when all non-UMNO component parties are not even united on this stand? This divide-and-rule strategy of UMNO seem to be working fine for them over the last 30 years but it had definitely weaken the position and bargaining power of the other component parties.

If BN leaders want to see real reforms in the coalition, then UMNO must abandon its hegemony and treat all coalition partners as equals. There shouldn't be any compromise on this. No matter what 'reforms' MCA or Gerakan or MIC is planning to make, the voters will never be convinced if you guys continue to 'kow-tow' to UMNO.

Grow up! Doc, it's about time you tell your MCA leaders to stand up for their rights. No more of UMNO division or branch leaders (and even ordinary members) telling the President of a component party what to do! Before March 8th, this kind of disrespect occured quite frequently in Penang, where Koh Tsu Koon had been on the receiving end.

Speak up! for God's sake! Speak up for your coalition partners!

Ah Chin said...

I believe that a certain race has a certain type of distinct culture, be it a good or a bad culture. Such culture is innate in the race and it is impossible, or it takes generations, to change it. If a race has more genes of good culture, the country dominated by the race will be prosperous and developed. If it is otherwise, the country will always be plagued by the many ills which block progresses. As to which category this bolehland belong, you have the answer.

Peasant said...

Hey Ah Lek,

So how come u r making this kind of statement now? Why u did not make this statement while u r in the parliment? definitely becos ur scared of UMNO and scared ur position will be threaten. So tell me wat have u contributed to us, m'sian chinese? As a citizen of Batu Pahat, I admire Mr. Lim Kit Siang, definitely not u. N now u've send ur son into the parliment. So wat have he done? just a mere puppet filling up the sitting space in parliment.

NEIL said...

I'm most delighted to see constructive comments from robertteh.When they are outside the gov't these guys speaks bold language but when they are in the gov't these guys have their tails between their legs.So all this while MCA,MIC and Gerakan only speak umno language.As I say before to cinabaru,MCA must stand up to the gangster big brother umno and demand that we be treated fairly,humanly and with dignity.We are demanding to be treated in a civilized manner.It' a crime against humanity when we are being discriminated right before our children's eyes.How can MCA hold its head high and claim to be the champion of the chinese community when infact they intentionally let the big bully discriminate us?All our rights that our forefathers crafted for us are been trample on.Every MCA president have their legacy tainted by the way they treat the chinese community.So here again say to MR ONG KA TING, STAND UP and be counted as a president of MCA who will ,shall,always be bold to champion the chinese cause.Let your legacy be a untainted one and full of memories that will last you to the grave.

ZORO said...

How about scrapping the so-called national Service? The government should be able to save millions of Ringgit a year by doing so. After all, to have a nation with good citizens, national service is not the only way, and can do without, maybe for a short period until our economy is in stable form?
By the way, it's always been a pleasure to read your blog.

Welcome to my Blog

As a concerned MCA member, I am trying my best to help in the process of rebuilding and repositioning of the party.

Therefore, I welcome party members and members of public to post your constructive suggestions and opinions on my blog on how to rebuild and reform the party, eventually enabling MCA to regain support from all party members and the community.

Thank you for your suggestions.