Over the past five years, the government paid a whopping RM4 million a day on average to private consulting companies it had engaged.
“In the span of five years since 2009 (until Oct 2013) the government spent RM7.2 billion on private consulting firms,” said Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen.
“This amounts to RM125 million a month or RM4 million a day,” Wong told reporters in Parliament today, citing a written reply he received from the Finance Ministry on the matter yesterday.
According to the written answer, the payments for the private consultants have been on the rise since 2009.
In 2009, it stood at RM1.2 billion. This increased to RM1.6 billion in 2010, RM1.7 billion in 2011 and RM1.8 billion in 2012.
For this year, the government paid out RM722 million to these firms as of October.
The written answer however did not specify the ministries that had engaged the private consultant companies and the reasons for that.
Wong said that the use of private consultants was a “completely irresponsible use of the government’s revenue” which is partly contributed by taxpayers’ money.
“From the figures we can see that spending on private consulting firms has increased at an average of 13.5% each year, which is double Malaysia’s annual GDP growth rate,” he said.
The PKR legislator added that this trend is “worrying” as consultants charged non-fixed fees, and this could raise doubts as to whether the government was paying an appropriate fee for these services.
Wong also said that the reliance on private consulting companies undermined Malaysian civil servants who had the experience and knowledge to assist the government in policy making.
He demanded that there should be greater transparency beyond these figures, failing which Pakatan Rakyat MPs will bombard ministers to provide answers in Parliament.
“We want more transparency. Each minister should reveal how much they have spent in hiring these consultants and why.
“If they don’t, Pakatan Rakyat MPs will use the question and answer session in Parliament to ask each and every ministry this question to get the answer,” he said.
All questions submitted for question and answer session must be answered by the specific minister either orally or in a written reply.
Meanwhile, the PKR MP for Alor Setar, Gooi Hsiao Leung, agreed that greater transparency and details were needed beyond the figures provided by the Finance Ministry.
“We need to know who was hired, the benefits of hiring them, which area their services was used in.
“You can’t just waste tax payers money this way,” he said.
He added that as previously revealed the Prime Minister’s Office had spent RM212.5 million since 2008 for the services of private consultants.