KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has rejected the use of a recently purchased Mercedes-Benz S600 limousine as his official car.
Instead, he said that he will use any available vehicle at the Prime Minister’s Department for his duties.
"I would like to inform you that yesterday, I refused to use a Mercedes S600 vehicle that was purchased and obtained by the Prime Minister's Department before I came into office," he wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday (Nov 27).
“The move was taken because I don't want any new expenses made on me.”
On Saturday night, he had made a similar remark after prayers at a mosque in Selangor.
He said that no new official car would be bought for his use and no new unnecessary furniture will be bought by his office, as part of a new culture against wastage of public funds that must be practised by all.
“The condition is that there are no new purchases in the prime minister's office,” he told reporters.
“Think of what you can save – RM100 (US$22), RM1000, RM10,000 – which can be returned to the poor. I started with a commitment not to take a salary, but what’s important is not to waste the funds we have,” he said.
“This is a message to all department leaders to remember that in the current situation we should start a new culture. Don’t use government money for our own facilities.”
Mr Anwar, 75, previously announced that he would not be taking his prime minister salary, in line with a promise that he had made during the 15th General Election (GE15) campaigning.
He also announced that the Cabinet size will be reduced and that he is also seeking the agreement of parliamentarians who will be appointed as ministers to reduce their salaries.
He has yet to announce his Cabinet line-up and said on Sunday that he will discuss the appointments with his coalition partners in the following days.
After being appointed prime minister last Thursday, Mr Anwar said his first priority was to tackle inflation and the rising cost of living to ease the financial burden on citizens.
On Sunday, he announced that Malaysia will review its government subsidies programme to better target low-income groups.
Government agencies have two weeks to review the implications of narrowing the subsidies, he told a news conference.
Mr Anwar was sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister last Thursday after a political impasse following GE15, which saw none of the coalitions commanding a majority of seats in parliament.
He has formed a unity government comprising his Pakatan Harapan alliance, Barisan Nasional, Gabungan Parti Sarawak, Gabungan Rakyat Sabah and other partners.
A motion of confidence will be tabled during the next parliamentary session on Dec 19, as a test of the legitimacy of the new government.