PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia’s Cabinet ministers under the unity government have agreed to take a 20 per cent cut in their monthly salaries, said Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
He said that during a special Cabinet meeting on Monday (Dec 5), the ministers agreed to this suggestion out of concern for the problems faced by the public.
“This is until the economy recovers. If the economy recovers in three years, we will review this. The cutting of salaries is not appropriate, but I thank them for their willingness to sacrifice a bit.
“There are some people who say Anwar is not taking the Prime Minister’s salary, he will take the salary of the Finance Minister. That’s not right. There is only one salary,” he told a press conference after chairing his first Cabinet meeting.
Mr Anwar, who is also the finance minister, was flanked by deputy prime ministers Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Mr Fadillah Yusof as well as Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Zuki Ali during the press conference at the prime minister’s office.
During the campaigning in the recent general election, Mr Anwar pledged to forgo his salary in solidarity with the plight of the people.
Last Friday night, the new prime minister unveiled his Cabinet line-up.
His team comprises 28 ministers, which is leaner than the recent Cabinet teams helmed by the administrations led by Mr Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Mr Muhyiddin Yassin. The list of deputy ministers has yet to be announced.
Under the Ismail Sabri administration, there were 31 ministers and 38 deputies.
Mr Muhyiddin, meanwhile, had a Cabinet of 32 ministers and 38 deputies.
Earlier, Mr Anwar said that his Cabinet will be downsized. He also said that he will do away with appointing Cabinet ministers as a form of reward.
The Nov 19 election produced no clear winner, with neither Mr Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) nor Mr Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) able to secure a simple majority in the 222-seat Lower House.
PH won 81 seats while PN managed 73, putting both in a position to form the next government. A coalition needs to be backed by at least 112 lawmakers to form the next government. Both coalitions scrambled to gather support from BN, GPS and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).
BN, which finished a distant third, managed to win 30 seats. GPS won 23 seats while GRS emerged victorious in six seats.
The king had asked PH and PN to form a unity government, but the latter turned down the suggestion.
Following a meeting of the Malay rulers on Nov 24 regarding the political impasse, Istana Negara announced that Mr Anwar will be the next prime minister.
After being sworn in on Nov 24, Mr Anwar told reporters that the unity government comprises PH, BN and GPS. The government also included Parti Warisan Sabah, Malaysian United Democratic Alliance and other independent lawmakers.
A day later, he said that GRS also joined the unity government.