Salaries at GLCs to be revised downwards, says PM

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

PRIME Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) said the government is looking at revising the remuneration given to top executives at government-linked companies (GLCs) downwards, instead of raising the wages of ministers to be more on par with the other.

He agreed that the earnings of ministers are small compared to those offered in the private sector.

However, Dr Mahathir said that does not mean the government will be looking to increase ministerial salaries.

“Our salary is very low compared to the private sector. But we don’t want to be below the level too much, so we are reducing the salary of the private sector,” he told reporters after delivering a special address at the National Anti-Corruption briefing in Putrajaya yesterday.

The 93-year-old leader did not specify a fair value that should be paid to heads of stateowned companies, but said that his own RM20,000 monthly salary was “more than enough”.

“My salary when I stepped down as PM (in 2003) was RM20,000 a month, much below the amount received by people in Proton Holdings Bhd, for example.

“But I find that RM20,000 is more than enough because the government provides a house, pays for the electricity bills, even for transport and allowances.

“Everything is all paid for. So much so that for 29 years, I did not spend my salary,” he said.

Interest in GLCs’ remunerations came into light following claims that the heads and board members of these entities are paid lucratively.

Checks across several corporate annual reports revealed that some were paid as high as RM30 million per annum, which had courted allegations of mismanagement and underperformance.

The government has pledged to review the salaries at these companies to ensure fairness and represent performance.

Dr Mahathir previously said GLCs had turned into “monsters” and had deviated from their initial intention of helping the poor.

He also warned that the days of GLC chiefs drawing fat salaries are over.

“The salaries may be slightly higher than those of the civil service, but if they perform, then we’ll pay them a bonus.

“Otherwise, they won’t receive the high income as (they do) currently, and we will change the management so that we appoint professionals,” Dr Mahathir said in a recent interview with a Hong Kongbased news portal.

On a separate note, Dr Mahathir said the government will assess the extent in which declared assets by public officers should be made public as it involves various parties, including family members.

“We are considering how much we can reveal to the public because it may affect the privacy of members of the family,” he said.

The current government is expected to impose new laws which will require all public administrators to declare their assets, as well as gifts received while in office to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. It will also make amendments to the code of ethics to make public officers answerable to the law.