News | Retract ‘insulting’ claim of RM2bil for 12MP consultants, Anwar told

KUALA LUMPUR: A PAS MP has asked opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to retract his claim that more than RM2 billion was spent by Putrajaya to get foreign consultants to help in preparing the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) document.

Special functions minister Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman told the Dewan Rakyat that Anwar’s claim was an insult to civil servants and underestimated their ability to complete the document.

“I ask the opposition leader to retract this accusation. This document was produced from the engagements and the wisdom of our officers in the economic planning unit (EPU), led by economics minister Mustapa Mohamed.

“Despite the difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic, they successfully completed the document which will set the course of our socio-economic development for the next five years,” the Kuala Krai MP said while debating the 12MP.

He also asked Mustapa to clarify the matter to the lower house so that the issue first raised by Anwar could be resolved.

Anwar then rose to interject in the middle of Charles Santiago’s (PH-Klang) speech to answer Latiff, saying he had never played down the ability of civil servants and officers in the EPU.

“I said I was made to understand that five to six years ago, the government spent RM1.5 billion. So, I want to ask — this was a question — on how more than RM2 billion was given to consultants to prepare the 12MP document,” he said.

However, he did not clarify on where he obtained the RM2 billion figure.

He pointed out that in 2013 the then finance minister (Najib Razak) had revealed that over RM1 billion was spent on consultants annually for the development plan.

He said finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz had also stated in April this year that while local consultants could not be paid more than RM500,000, foreign consultants can receive upwards of RM50 million.

“Kuala Krai calling these ‘accusation’, is simply a case of not doing one’s homework. He thinks this is a ceramah in a village surau,” Anwar said.

On Tuesday, Anwar questioned why some RM2 billion was spent by the government on foreign consultants for the 12MP, saying this money should have instead been given to experts inside the country to conduct the necessary studies for the document.

Mustapa, however, denied the claim, saying the development plan was prepared by officers from the EPU under his watch.

“The cost to prepare the 12MP was very small. It was for engagement sessions, printing and media consultancy,” he said. – FMT

by Nicholas Chung

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