Monday, June 9, 2008

PM announces government cost cutting measures -

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has announced cost cutting measures to save the government two billion ringgit this year. Other measures include freezing the creation of new posts, cutting down on functions at hotels, and curbing purchases of assets like cars, furniture and computers.

Ministers' Entertainment Allowance Reduced By 10 Per Cent - Bernama

PUTRAJAYA, June 9 (Bernama) -- The entertainment allowance for the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers and Deputy Ministers will be reduced by 10 percent effective July 1, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Monday.

The move is part of the austerity measures to save public spending amounting to RM2 billion anually which include the freezing of paid leave for members of the Cabinet, aspects on travels for ministers, deputy ministers, government officers abroad, prohibiting renovation works on offices, the postponement in asset purchases and the holding of official functions.

"The government too feels the hardship faced by the people and felt that the leadership must show a good example in facing this challenge," he told reporters after chairing the first meeting of the Council on Tackling Inflation, here.

Abdullah said the savings of RM2 billion would be utilised to assist the lower-income groups.

Currently, the monthly entertainment allowance for the Prime Minister is RM18,865, Deputy Prime Minister (RM15,015), Federal Ministers (RM12,320) and Deputy Ministers (RM6,000).

Abdullah said the austerity drive in government spending was being carried out following the rise in prices for fuel and food.

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Malaysia cuts ministers' allowances, delays projects - Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, trying to assuage public anger over a steep hike in fuel prices, said on Monday government ministers would take a 10 percent cut in allowances.
Abdullah also said that ministers' overseas holidays would be reduced and mega projects delayed to save costs.

Together the measures will result in a saving of 2 billion ringgit, ($613 million), he told reporters after a meeting on ways to cushion the impact of high fuel prices.

"The government also feels the people's pain and the top leadership should lead by example in facing this challenge. As such, the entertainment allowance for the prime minister, deputy prime minister and ministers and deputy ministers will be reduced by 10 percent," he said.

Spiralling crude oil prices have driven up the cost of some states' fuel subsidies to near crippling levels.

Malaysia followed India, Indonesia, Taiwan and Sri Lanka last week, raising pump prices and provoking a public outcry and protests by opposition groups. On Monday, Nepal's government said it had sanctioned a rise in fuel prices, and truckers in South Korea vowed to stop work over the high cost of diesel.

Abdullah said the decision to increase the price of fuel was a difficult one, but there had been no choice.

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Private universities, colleges to be audited - The Star

By Muguntan Vanar

KOTA KINABALU: A grading system for private universities and colleges will be in place soon once all of the establishments are audited, Deputy Higher Education Minister Dr Hou Kok Chung said.

He said the ministry since May this year had begun an "establishment audit" on 200 private institutions of higher education including 37 private universities in the country in efforts to ensure that their courses are of quality and followed various regulations.

Dr Hou said the establishment audit would see 120 of such institutions undergoing a full scope audit where officers would go on the ground to check various facilities while the remaining 80 institutions would have to submit their details to the ministry.

"We will be looking at their staff, their courses, student intake, examination process, management and financial capability among others," he told reporters Monday after a meeting with senior executives of private colleges and universities here.

Private audit firm Ernst & Young has been appointed to work with the ministry for the establishment audit programme.

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