Cut PMO spending, mega-projects to curb ballooning public debt, says economist

Bede Hong

Economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram says there is urgent need for greater transparency and accountability in 'off-budget' infrastructure spending, which is not part of the federal government budget and is thereby unaccountable to Parliament. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, February 4, 2018.

UNCHECKED overspending by the Prime Minister’s Office and disproportionate allocation of development funds have led to the official government debt fast approaching RM700 billion, said a prominent economist.

Former United Nations assistant secretary-general Jomo Kwame Sundaram said there was an urgent need for greater transparency and accountability in “off-budget” infrastructure spending, which is not part of the federal government budget and is thereby unaccountable to Parliament. 

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  • Jomo has proven with figures that the federal government has spent recklessly in the past decade under Najib, which unless checked now, will soon cause irreparable financial damage to the country.
    Federal government debt has exploded by 560% from RM123 billion in 2007 to RM687 billion; operating expenses have escalated by 80% from RM123.1 billion in 2007 to RM219.9 billion in 2017, of which PMO alone takes RM17.8 billion in budget 2018, ballooning from RM8.9 billion in 2008.
    Alarmingly, the enormous federal debt of RM687 billion does not include the hundreds of billions of opaque government-guaranteed debts incurred by GLCs and dubious private vehicles implementing mega infrastructure projects, which are off-budget and hence beyond the scrutiny of parliament.
    These massive hidden contingent liabilities to the public pose potential risks to our economy unless properly assessed, managed and accounted for. MPs should request the federal government to provide, for a start, a full list of these contingent liabilities.

    Posted 6 years ago by Kim quek

  • Fully agreed with Mr Jomo sincere n naive comment on our present economy. Positively, it is sincere word of advise to our Government. Malaysian should be thankful to Mr Jomo, we can see that some of the mega projects which government announced as an infrastructure to rakyat and to show and look good to politician but eventually and purely white elephant after completion ans also unapprotiate spending by government which n long run will be burden to rakyat. As matter of fact those small projects is vital just to name a few
    such as refurbishment of old bridges deepen and cleaning of rivers and drainage system to avoid flash flood etc. Mega projects will look good if vital if not that can be put on hold. Yes, government should really look into developing and make use of our country bless vast natural resources and also agricultural as that had been our key economy generator such as rubber and palm oil, iron ore and recently bauxide instead of exporting we should implement technology transfer program whereby it will create employment and all under our control because we have the raw materials so we export ready made products which will boost our country economy and GDP. No doubt electronic industry look lucrative but controlled by foreign companies. We should look on how China economy grow through R&D using their natural resources they dominate the world. No doubt USA have all the technologies but their economy sucks nowadays they here are hardly any factories as most of their
    products comes from this part of tje world

    . Malaysian should be thankful t

    Posted 6 years ago by Abdul Rahman Abdul Razak