Budget 2024: Save money, hold meetings online, says don

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Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow

KUCHING (Oct 16): The 2024 Budget requires government departments and agencies to exercise prudent spending, said Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s Faculty of Syariah and Law associate professor Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow.

He said this following the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s call for careful resource management and cost avoidance.

As such, Muzaffar emphasised the need to optimise the utilisation of the allocated budget amid economic uncertainty and rising living costs.

“With the current economic uncertainty and high cost of living faced by the people, the budget allocation which is also the public’s money should be spent for activities and programmes which can bring significant benefit to the people and country.

“Government departments and agencies must avoid organising activities or programmes which will not bring any benefit to the people and country. The public money must never be wasted on useless activities and programmes,” he said in a statement.

Muzaffar said one way to do this was to leverage existing technology for various work activities and programmes.

He cited the recent virtual meeting between Anwar and Elon Musk, chief executive officer of SpaceX, as an example of how technology can be harnessed for cost-effective and efficient interactions.

He pointed out that the convenience and cost-effectiveness of virtual meetings demonstrate the potential for various activities and programmes to be conducted online, eliminating the need for in-person meetings, which can be time-consuming and costly.

“The head of departments or agencies should permit their employees to participate through online meeting, seminars, courses, conferences, and many more.

“Important questions need to be asked; with all the available technologies, do we still need to carry out face to face meetings, seminars, courses, conferences, and many more in the office or at any specified location?

“Why can’t we utilise all the existing technologies to carry out all these activities and programmes online?”

He proposed that, regardless of the working sectors, embracing technology and adopting new norms in work practices would bring numerous benefits to organisations and individuals, particularly in today’s fast-evolving technological landscape.

“Using technology would allow both employer and employee to save their money, time and energy. By using online technology like computer and even smart phone, there is no need for the head of department and employer to spend money preparing for meetings, seminars, courses, conferences, and many more in the office or in any location like banquet hall or in a restaurant or inside hotel.

“Employers and employees in the country need to have new way of thinking and new working style. Technology should be fully utilised in every workplace if they want to stay relevant in today’s world,” he said.