Economic affairs minister Mustapa Mohamed has denied that the government spent over RM2 billion on foreign consultants to prepare the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) as alleged by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Instead, he said the five-year national development plan was prepared by officers from the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister’s Department, under his watch, with input from various quarters.
Mustapa, who is Jeli MP, said the government did not spend the amount claimed by opposition leader Anwar during the debate on the 12MP at the Dewan Rakyat earlier today.
“The cost to prepare the 12MP was very small. It was for engagement sessions (sesi libat urus), printing and media consultancy,” he said in a statement today.
“I hope Anwar can correct his statement to avoid negative perception towards the EPU officers and the government.”
Anwar had claimed in Parliament earlier today that he was told RM1.8 billion was spent on foreign consultants five years ago, and that over RM2 billion was paid out for such expertise for the 12MP, lamenting that perhaps only part of the findings compiled by them could be used.
“I am confident that studies and planning in the country can be handled by local experts because they understand the problems (we face) better. They can understand the problems of poverty and inequality in this country, not foreign consultants,” he said when debating the 12MP in the Dewan Rakyat today.
He said the allocation should have instead been given to experts inside the country to conduct the necessary studies, particularly those related to poverty, in preparing the document.