The Prime Minister’s Department’s (PMD) ballooning budget is being slashed for the first time since the 2012 Budget, and is among the worst hit by the budget cuts.
Under Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s 2017 Budget proposal tabled in the Dewan Rakyat today, the PMD is to receive an allocation of RM15.9 billion, compared with the RM20.3 billion it was allocated under the 2016 Budget.
The reduction of RM4.4 billion (or 21.5 percent) is the largest budget cut under the 2017 Budget by the amount reduced, and the third largest by the proportion reduced.
Second worst hit ministry by the amount reduced is the Ministry of Defence (RM2.2 billion, or 13 percent), while the worst hit ministry by the proportion of the reduction is the Ministry of Plantations and Commodities (31.3 percent; RM203 million).
The PMD’s budget allocation stood at RM13.5 billion in 2012, and has been growing in each subsequent year as the department took on more and more disparate roles, from early childhood education to maritime security patrols.
Opposition politicians have for long criticised the seemingly ever-increasing PMD budget, with some calling it “Najib’s personal slush fund”.
In an immediate response, Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong (photo) tweeted, “Our campaign to slash the allocation to the PMD is effective. PMD’s budget is cut from RM21 billion to RM16 billion, but it is not far enough.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education is to see its budget increased from by RM2.6 billion from RM41.4 billion to RM44 billion, making it the largest increase in the 2017 budget.
However, by proportion, the biggest gainer is the Ministry of Housing, Local Government, and Urban Wellbeing.
This ministry’s budget is to increase by RM1.1 billion (26.6 percent) from RM4.2 billion to RM5.2 billion.
The ministry is headed by Selangor BN chief Noh Omar since June this year, a move that some pundits said was to help BN take over the state currently ruled by a mixed Pakatan Harapan and PAS government.
However, most of the housing ministry’s budget increase for 2017 can be attributed to a single item: National solid waste management.
RM1.9 billion has been allocated for this item, compared with RM857 million allocated last year.