Kementerian Idris Jala still costs RM 12 billion & Where is NEM Part II?

Media Statement by DAP MP for Bukit Bendera Liew Chin Tong in Parliament House on 1st November 2010

1) Kementerian Idris Jala still costs RM 12 billion
Today’s New Straits Times front-page headline reads “Exaggerated claims: Idris denies RM12b budget under Pemandu,” which claims that “Pemandu’s operating budget for 2011 is RM40 million. This claim that the amount is RM729 million is 1,822 per cent exaggerated.”

It is the belated reply of Dato’ Seri Idris Jala to my statement on 19th October 2010. My original statement detailed the line items in Budget 2011 for the various outfits and initiatives under the control of Idris, which I put together under the banner of “Kementerian Idris Jala.”

I did not say Pemandu received RM 12 billion. Indeed, Idris admitted that “Pemandu’s RM40 million allocation was part of the RM729 million budget to cover a whole host of expenditure items” under his watch. I hope his heftily-paid media consultants read my statement carefully.

Parts of my statement reads as follows:-

While PEMANDU has two drivers, namely Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon and Datuk Seri Idris Jala himself, it is well known that the latter is firmly in the driver’s seat, with the help of numerous consulting firms.

KIJa or Idris’ outfits are responsible for the preparation of the Government Transformation Plan (GTP), the Economic Transformation Plan (ETP) and various other Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for ministers, ministries and federal government agencies. The ETP has allegedly usurped the role of the National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC), which was tasked to prepare the New Economic Model.

The various transformational programmes organised by Datuk Seri Idris Jala failed to curb the continuous rise in government expenditure. Rather, KIJa or Idris’ various outfits are themselves now big spenders, as shown in Budget 2011:-

•Officially, PEMANDU is given an allocation of RM 20, 67 million in 2011 (Item 310000, Pg 134).

•An additional item of RM 897,800 under “Dasar Baru” or new policy is given to PEMANDU (Item 320800, pg 135).

• There is also a “one-off payment” of RM18.43 million for PEMANDU (Item 331800, pg 136 ) and I suspect substantial amount under the label of “emolumen kakitangan kontrak” or emolument for contractual worker (Item 332000, pg 136) from the Prime Minister’s Department amounting RM136.87 million is utilised by KIJa or Idris’ outfits.

•National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) are indeed a group of costly alphabets. NKRA for crime fighting was allocated RM9.1 million, education, RM 22 million, and 1Malaysia, RM 38.42 million. (Items 331300, 331100 and 331200, pg 136).

•In addition to that, the delivery task force of NKRA for Low Income Household costs RM 265 million (Item 332200, pg 135). If only cash grants of RM1000 are distributed, 265,000 low income families would have been aided. Clearly, it is a move that is set to benefit the consultants.

•Meanwhile, the operation cost of NKEA is even costlier than NKRA, receiving a shocking amount of RM355.9 million! (Item 332100, pg 136)

•Under the development budget, NKEA will be allocated a total of RM 11.86 billion in 2011-2012 (Item 94000, pg 139), in which the estimate for 2011 is RM5.4 billion – more than 10 percent of the entire development budget for 2011.

2) Where is NEM Part II?

In his lengthy reply to me, Idris said that “The (ETP) budget (of RM12 billion) is parked under the Prime Minister’s Department in order to ensure effective management and control of expenditure.”

This is clearly not in line with the spirit of the New Economic Model. In the NEM I document, the National Economic Advisory Council categorically declared that the era of “centralised strategic planning” in which “guidance and approval from the federal authorities for economic decisions” is over. The new model requires “localised autonomy in decision-making” through “empower(ing) state and local authorities to support growth initiatives, and encourage competition between localities.”

What Idris is saying effectively means that only the Prime Minister’s Department is able to ensure effective management and control of expenditure. Going by Idris’ logic, perhaps it is time to dissolve all other ministries then and head towards a Prime Ministerial dictatorship?

And it is in this context that I would like Idris and the Government to enlighten us as to where the New Economic Model II has gone.

Liew Chin Tong

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