“Near slush funds” in the Prime Minister’s Department’s Budget
Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, is wrong to suggest that the Prime Minister’s Department received an extraordinarily huge budget “because it is the decision-maker and implementing body for government policies.”
According to Idris, various units under the PMD are the main bodies for the economic growth of the country. “For example, the capital expenditure for the country is channeled through the Economic Planning Unit. This unit is huge and placed under the PMD.” “The department is the coordinator for the country in various aspects. Hence it requires a huge allocation.”
Idris is wrong for three reasons:
Malaysia does not practice a presidential system. Our constitution provides for a parliamentary democracy with a collective responsibility of a cabinet, of which the Prime Minister is “first among equals”. But the PMD is now usurping the roles of the ministries.
The huge increase is unjustifiable. As pointed out by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, the expenditure allocated to the Prime Minister’s department has increased from RM14.6 billion in 2013 to a projected RM16.5 billion in 2014, an increase of 13% while the overall budget is projected to increase by only 1.5% from RM260 billion in 2013 to RM264 billion in 2014. The PMD budget increased from RM3.6 billion in 2003 to RM16.5 billion in 2013, outstripping the increases in other ministries over the last decade.
More importantly, substantial amount of PMD’s development budget goes to what I call “near slush funds”.
These “near slush funds” meant for political purposes with scant details are listed as followed:
Penyusunan Semula Masyarakat
Projek Mesra Rakyat
The items listed above is just a tip of the iceberg in the entire budget which is filled with such discretionary “black holes” that can be easily turned into slush funds to favour political supporters of the Prime Minister.
The five items with a sum of RM6.855,107,900 amount to 65 percent of PMD’s RM10,580,942,500 development allocation.
Dana Facilitasi or the Facilitation Fund, costing RM4 billion, deserves particular attention. It was first introduced in the Budget in 2011 (RM1 billion), and followed by RM2.5 billion (2012) and RM2.5 billion (2013).
I call on the Government and in particular Minister Idris Jala to explain the usages of those items. The Auditor-General as well as Public Accounts Committee must look into this area as well.