With federal funds still out of reach despite assurances that the government is open to talks on the matter, some opposition MPs say they have been forced to dip into their own salaries and savings in order to help their constituents.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said earlier this week that allocations for opposition MPs would be channelled if they were willing to negotiate.
In his closing speech for the 12th Malaysia Plan Half-Term Review on Sept 19, he added however that these would cover only administrative expenses.
Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fahysal Wan Ahmad Kamal said opposition representatives should be given allocations as well, citing Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) previous stand on equal allocations for all MPs.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he said the funds should be directly channelled for the use of service centre operations and seasonal assistance for the people.
“Right now, there is only so much we can do,” he said.
“We have no choice but to use our own savings and salaries.”
During the administration of Anwar’s predecessor, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, MPs were given equal allocations under a confidence and supply agreement between the government and opposition.
Under the administration of Muhyiddin Yassin, meanwhile, government and opposition MPs alike were given allocations of RM300,000 to help those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
PH manifesto pledge
Wan Ahmad Fahysal also criticised Anwar’s remarks on allocations through the implementation of projects, saying these could not be equated with allocations for MPs.
“It was said in Parliament that allocations would not be given to us, but through government agencies through development projects like roads.
“But roads are not the responsibility of MPs,” the Bersatu Youth chief added. “It is the role of the federal government, to be implemented through the agencies.”
Pokok Sena MP Ahmad Yahaya likewise said that he had been using his own money to help his constituents.
“Even my service centre, I established myself with my own savings and with money from my allowance as an MP, at a cost of RM80,000,” he said.
“Help for the people comes from my own pocket, according to how much I can afford.”
He, too, said PH should make good on its manifesto pledge ahead of the 15th general election last year for equal allocations for both government and opposition MPs.
Hulu Terengganu MP Rosol Wahid said he had had to limit the amount of help he could give due to his financial constraints.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he recalled the food programme implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic, where basic food items were made available at mosques throughout the district.
“Whoever needed food could get it for free,” he said.
“We can’t do this anymore because of the issue of allocations. This is not to say that we are doing nothing. But there are limits to what we can do, and so many requests for help.”