Dr Mahathir Mohamad today proposed a cut in wages for high-earning individuals, saying salaries have been increased by as much as 25% over the past 15 years including for ministers and MPs.
“Ministers and MPs have been given numerous allowances,” he said in a blog post on the 2021 budget tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last Friday.
“Such is the increase that everyone is keen to be MPs and ministers. Nothing will make them part with their position.
“Even when their leaders commit crimes, they will support them. Giving up their posts would deprive them of so much money. Principles don’t count anymore.
“It is perhaps better to make these posts less attractive.”
Although acknowledging that some, like airline staff and business executives, might lose their jobs, he said those who are paid high salaries “continue to earn more than their daily needs”.
He contrasted this with the situation of the poor, whom he said have been heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Such people “earn today for today”, he said. “If they don’t, then they will have no money to buy food, even. They will starve.”
Noting a suggestion by Warisan president Shafie Apdal for ministers to take a 30% pay cut, he said people earning high wages in the government or private sector should forgo “10% of their salaries”.
“It is a sacrifice but I don’t think it would hurt them if there is a reasonable cut-off point, say RM20,000 p.m.”
The money should instead be used to feed the unemployed and those without income, he said.