KUALA LUMPUR: Lately questions on the amount of emoluments and allowances received by Cabinet Ministers and members of the administration were hotly debated in the Malaysian social media.
There were quarters claiming that the ministers received certain allowances including parking allowance said to be more than RM5,000, to the extent of drawing severe criticism from netizens who described the amount as excessive.
However, the amount of emoluments and allowances received by a Cabinet minister or member of the administration was something that could not be publicly announced because it was subject to the Official Secrets Act 1972.
Several ministers and deputy ministers contacted by Bernama via messages on WhatsApp generally confirmed that the parking allowance was totally non-existent.
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah in his official Twitter account said: “As far as I know, I don’t have any parking allowance.”
In a separate tweet, Saifuddin also emphasised that the alleged parking allowance that was tweeted since Wednesday was not true.
The issue on the parking allowance first cropped up on Wednesday when the owner of Twitter @1Obefiend questioned the ministerial parking allowance of RM5,000 but this was disputed by the Foreign Minister who sought for clarification as it was non-existent for him.
A day after that, an infographic shared by Twitter account owner @iam_meelo which claimed to list the amount of allowances said to be received by Malaysian ministers, among them the entertainment allowance of RM10,500, housing allowance of RM10,800, people’s representative allowance of RM10,650 and parking allowance of RM5,700.
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok meanwhile said: “The statement that was viralled recently on ministers being given an allocation of RM5,000 for parking fees was not true.
“Ministers can claim for parking fees with receipt under the miscellaneous allowances, there is no difference with most other public officials.
“It must be remembered that when ministers from Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over duty from the previous ministers, we carried out our duty with a 10 per cent pay cut compared to the ministers under the previous administration.
“It was first enforced in June 2018 until now.” — Bernama