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Govt machinery will continue to run smoothly, says Zahid

PUTRAJAYA: Minimum necessities for ministries, agencies and civil servants will not be compromised although cuts will be made to optimise public spending by the Government, assures the Deputy Prime Minister.

The cuts were meant to ensure no wastage or leakages, without affecting the smooth running of the government machinery, said Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic).

For example, police preparedness to fight crime would continue to be given strong support, he said.

The Government has introduced 53 wide-ranging measures to optimise public expenditure in the face of the current economic challenges. These include a minimum 30% cut in spending on all government-organised events.

Among the steps that affect civil servants the most is the reduction of overtime and uniforms.

On this, the Deputy Prime Minister said personnel who need not use their uniform everyday would have to adhere to the new ruling, while those wearing uniforms daily would be given some leeway.

Several secretaries-general when contacted, were confident the cuts would have least impact on the smooth running of their ministries.

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government secretary-general Datuk Mohammad Mentek said despite budget restriction, the administration of the ministry would remain unaffected.

He added that development plans, including the construction of PPR houses, were still on track.

Mohammad said to save cost, as many programmes and functions as possible would be held in-house or in venues owned by the agencies, adding that recently the ministry managed to save 80% of the cost of hosting excellent service awards by organising one for all departments.

As for overtime, Mohammad said claims were “manageable” because staff were often reminded they must not treat staying back as a way to earn more income.

Agriculture and Agro-Based Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar said it was up to officials to lead by example during trying times.

“We (Government) cannot be spending big or throwing big functions at a time when the price of commodities is unpredictable and farmers are feeling the pinch.

“It will not look good. It is very simple.

“If our resources are not enough, then we adjust,” he said.

He said it was too early to assess how much savings the ministry could make through the exercise.-thestar

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