Malaysians bracing themselves for a challenging 2014 poured cold water over Putrajaya's 11 austerity measures posted on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's Facebook page.
Netizens made known to Najib that they are unconvinced by Putrajaya’s cost-cutting measures to practice more prudent spending in the new year, with many lamenting over price hikes of goods and services.
Miqatsum Damha Mazaz took Putrjaya to task, saying that it is ministers that should start the ball rolling by implementing cost-cutting measures and austerity drives instead of squeezing the people.
"Datuk Seri Najib has to find alternative ways instead of raising this and that," he said.
In his posting which attracted 11 Likes, Lim Chze Hong described the austerity measures as "11 jokes for 2014", while Hasrin Hamdan expressed his scepticism by saying it looked as though the moves are lies and does not seemed to generate any savings.
Fauzan Samsudin suggested sterner measures are needed including eradicating the allowances of all ministers, members of parliament, assemblymen and advisers with ministerial status.
Adrian Soon said these were just empty promises and if Najib was really serious in keeping his pledges, then he should have realised the promises made in the Barisan Nasional election manifesto.
"Looks like 2014 Promises are also lies," he said.
Sahiful Hussaini was disappointed with the coming challenging year, and advised the government against making promises that could not be fulfilled as the people are not "kindergarten children" which can be fooled.
Gan Chuan Huat said the 11 measures has nothing to do with what the public wanted, which is to see the prices of goods go down.
The savings, he said, from the measures are just "small money" especially for Cabinet ministers.
Echoing similar a sentiment was Ang Heng, who called on Najib to take drastic actions to alleviate the people's burden.
The measures, he said, does not mean a thing to the people: "Please preach what you said with your motto of 'Rakyat Didahulukan' (People First). In this case, the people are put first when it comes to burdening them."
Under Putrajaya's austerity measures, the entertainment allowance of ministers and deputy ministers are slashed by 10% and that of senior government officers on the Jusa C Grade and above by between 5% and 10%.
Furthermore, the toll facility for senior government officers would also be reduced by between RM50 and RM100 or 30%.
The government would amend the eligibility for domestic and international flight tickets for civil servants, whereby civil servants on the Jusa C Grade and below will only be eligible for the economy class on domestic flights.
It would also reduce by 5% the electricity utility cost at all ministries, departments, agencies and government premises, as well as freezing fresh applications for renovation of government offices while optimising use of existing office space to reduce rental of offices premises.
The announcement of price hikes has been met with anger by the public. What irked them were the wastage and leakages revealed in the 2012 Auditor General's Report. The report revealed that public funds amounting to billions of ringgit had been wasted.
This led university students to form the Reduce Cost of Living Movement, or Turun. A rally to protest the price hike was held last night. – January 1, 2014.