Frugality is the name of the game, because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tries to save costs – Nation

SHAH ALAM: Wisma Putra is willing to tighten its belt and not provide premium services on flights and accommodation in an effort to improve financial management.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said that his ministry would do whatever amount it was to spend on economical expenditures.

"We do not have to fly first class (for example) and the junior secretary, the secretary general and myself use standard hotel rooms, even if we have assignments to opt for better rooms.

"After all, rooms are only to sleep," he said after the launch of the Yemeni humanitarian fund, which aims to raise money for civil war victims in Yemen.

He also noted that Malaysian foreign envoys and high commissioners also have the habit of being economical.

Saifuddin said that the budget allocation of 2019 for the ministry will go to the restoration of workers' quarters and embassy vehicles at certain locations, as well as the upgrading of IT systems.

He said this in response to questions about whether the ministry was satisfied with the amount allocated to it in the 2019 budget.

Ministry of Finance Lim Guan Eng, who submitted the budget on Friday (Nov. 2), has allocated RM748 million to Wisma Putra in the 2019 budget, compared with RM739 million in the 2018 budget.

Saifuddin had previously asked for an extra RM40mil when he took office after the victory of Pakatan Harapan in the GE14.

It is clear that it is customary to request an additional budget mid-year, but only for specific purposes.

Separately, Saifuddin, who is in the PKR central leader council for a seat in the ongoing party election, admitted that candidates can be personally dissatisfied with her e-voting system, but has not worked it out.

"I'm not going to talk about this here, but I'll take it up with the party," he said.

This was in response to the chaos at the PKR election in Keningau, Sabah on Saturday (November 3), where deputy presidential candidate Rafizi Ramli claimed that he was being attacked by a man while leaving the polling station.

In response to this, the incumbent party deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali responded with a tweet suggesting that the fracas were stepped up to get sympathy.

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