Malaysia’s `bloated civil service’ a heavy financial burden, says accountant

City Plus FM director Rita Sim presents a token of appreciation to Wong at `2019 Budget Forum: New Opportunities, New Challenge’. With them on stage is Padawan Municipal Council chairman Lo Khere Chiang.

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Nov 24: Experienced accountant Wong Ching Yong revealed that emoluments paid to civil servants in the country amounted to RM82 billion, and this takes up 26 per cent of the total expenditure of the 2019 federal budget.

For civil service pensioners, the payout for 2019 is RM26.6 billion, constituting 8.5 per cent of the total national expenditure.

In 2018, the emoluments for civil servants were RM81.3 billion, amounting to 28 per cent of the total expenditure of the year, while the payout for civil service pensioners was RM25.8 billion, constituting 8.8 per cent of total expenditure.

It was, thus, not surprising that Wong held the view that the biggest financial burden of the federal government is its payment to civil servants, which, according to him, numbered 1.6 million.

He acknowledged it was an issue left behind by the previous Barisan Nasional government, which Pakatan Harapan now had to tackle.

“PH only took over a few months ago, so in terms of emoluments, it has yet to carry out drastic reforms.

“How to deal with the issue will depend on the wisdom of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng,” said Wong, who is a speaker at the `2019 Budget Forum: New Opportunities, New Challenge’ organised by City Plus FM at a local hotel here today.

Wong uses a slide to argue his case that salaries and pensions of civil servants are the biggest financial burden of the federal government.

Wong commented that Malaysia had the “most bloated civil service in the world”. Out of every 19 Malaysians, one is a civil servant.

For Singapore, he said out of 70 Singaporeans, there is a civil servant;  for Indonesia, one out of 110; for South Korea, one out of every 50; for China, the ratio is 1 to 108; for Japan, one out of 28; for Russia, one out of 84 Russians and for the United Kingdom, it is one out of 118.

On Sarawak being mentioned only five times by Lim when delivering the Budget 2019, Wong said the word `Sarawak’ was mentioned only in one paragraph, and that was in Paragraph 191.

Compared to Budget 2018, he noted that former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had allocated RM2 billion for the Pan Borneo Highway project and another RM30 million for perimeter survey of native customary rights (NCR) land.

“Is Budget 2019 better when compared to Budget 2018? As far as Sarawakians are concerned, we all know the answer,” said Wong. — DayakDaily