Malaysia has reduced the salaries of its ministers by ten per cent to reduce public spending.
The decision was taken by the new government over the country’s high-level debt, which has reportedly exceeded one trillion ringgit (US$251.5 billion).
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, on Wednesday announced the measures at the first cabinet meeting, which was attended by some of the newly-appointed ministers. He said Malaysia’s debt was around 65 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
“We are concerned about the country’s financial problem”, Mahathir told reporters after the meeting.
Apart from the pay cut, the 92-year-old prime minister is also advocating other measures, including forming a small cabinet, downsizing the government and recovering some of the country’s investments abroad.
He said he would not reduce the salaries of other senior civil servants, but added they could willingly do so to help reduce the cost of running the country.
Since assuming office, Mahathir has focused on implementing his campaign promises, including scrapping the six per cent goods and services taxes, which has affected the country’s tax income and revenue.
He further promised to disband the Land Public Transport Commission, as well as other “non-essential” institutions.
Mahathir also said his government was reviewing the contract for the search of the missing MH370 flight.
“If we find that it is not necessary, we will not renew the contract,” he added.