PUTRAJAYA - The newly-installed Malaysian Cabinet has agreed to take a 10 per cent cut in ministers' salaries as part of efforts to curb government expenditure, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Wednesday (May 23).
"We are concerned about the country's financial problems. We find that ministers' salaries are lower than high-ranking civil servants. (But) we will reduce ministers' salaries by 10 per cent," Tun Dr Mahathir told a news conference after chairing his first weekly Cabinet meeting since becoming premier for the second time in his career.
The move comes as the new government grapples with a huge debt of RM1 trillion (S$338.3 billion), part of which is due to mega projects.
"Our total debt is RM1 trillion. We want to find ways to reduce this. We want to downsize," said Dr Mahathir, adding that he had cut ministers' salaries before.
"When I was first appointed Prime Minister way back in 1981, the first thing I did was to cut the salaries of ministers and senior civil servants."
When asked if he would cut civil servants' salaries as well, he said senior civil servants were paid better than ministers and that it was up to them if they wished to contribute to reducing the cost of running the country.