This is not the time for expensive dinners.
That is the view of Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan in response to the Malay Mail front-page story yesterday on the Subang Jaya Municipal Council’s extravagant RM216,800 dinner to honour its top employees.
The dinner at a five-star hotel in Bandar Sunway is scheduled to be held tonight and attended by 1,200 people.
“As a government agency, it should be prudent and thrifty in spending to reduce costs. Every ringgit of the taxpayers money should be used to enhance services to the public,” said Ong.
“This is not the time for government agencies to spend money on unnecessary items such as expensive dinners. They must be cognizant of the times we are in, and of the economic recession.”
In a move to save on government expenditure, the Finance Ministry via a Treasury Circular dated June 9 last year, announced that fovernment ministries and agencies are not allowed to hold official functions at hotels.
However, the freeze on government functions at hotels was lifted two months later, on Aug 13 last year.
The municipal council’s do at Sunway Hotels and Resorts to honour its staff and 25 councillors for their contributions will also see 100 employees being awarded RM1,000 each for their “stellar” performance.
This extravagance has drawn the ire of residents’ associations and NGOs.
Many lambasted the council for spending so much money on a dinner, especially in light of the current economic crisis.
Council presindent Datuk Adnan Md Ikhsan said during the council’s full board meeting on Wednesday that the amount was the lowest the council could come up with after getting a 40 per cent discount from Sunway Hotels and Resorts.
He also said that transportation and use of LCD screens were complimentary.
The spread, a five-course Chinese dinner, comes at RM95 per head.