The RM500 special payment for civil servants on Grade 54 and below proposed in Budget 2019 will be paid before Dec 25.
“This is the first time that the bonus will be paid in the same year. Previously, the special payment was given the following year. There is no provision in Budget 2018. So, we will look for the source (of the funds).
“We hope that through the implementation of the sales and service tax (SST), there will be a little (revenue) to accommodate the bonus this year,” Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said to reporters in Putrajaya.
Earlier, Lim attended a get-together of Customs Department staff in conjunction with Deepavali at the Finance Ministry complex.
When tabling Budget 2019 in Parliament on Nov 2, Lim announced the RM500 special payment in recognition of the efforts and dedication of civil servants in discharging their duties.
He had also announced an RM250 special payment for government pensioners. Both special payments will incur the expenditure of RM1 billion.
‘I’ve heard nothing about reshuffle’
Asked to comment on the rumour of an impending cabinet reshuffle, Lim said: “I have not heard anything at all.”
A news portal had reported that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad would reshuffle the cabinet next month because of unhappiness over the performance of several Bersatu ministers.
The portal claimed that Education Minister Maszlee Malik and Rural Development Minister Rina Harun could be among those who would be dropped.
Mara allocation not slashed
Lim dismissed an allegation that the Budget 2019 allocation for Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) was reduced by half from 2018, and that this was in relation to the government’s intention to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).
“That’s not true. The allocation for Mara was not slashed by half.
“It is still there and continues to be managed by two to three ministries.
“If you notice a reduced allocation for Mara, it is because its functions have been moved to other ministries,” he said.
Yesterday, Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin, when speaking during the debate on the Supply Bill 2019 in the Dewan Rakyat, said the allocation for Mara had been reduced by over 50 percent, from RM3.5 billion in 2018 to only RM1.3 billion in 2019.
Khairy had questioned whether the reduction of the allocation for Mara in Budget 2019 had anything to do with the government’s stated intention to ratify Icerd.