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Wednesday, 16 May 2018 | MYT 4:54 PM

Dr M: Government will review contracts of 17,000 political appointees

PETALING JAYA: The government led by Tun Dr Mahahir (pic) will be reviewing the employment of approximately 17,000 political appointees as part of its reform plans to reduce government expenditure.

The Prime Minister told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday (May 16) that there is a lot of wastage in government expenditure, a problem that needs to be solved.

"We find that there are too many officer contracts, some had been contracted to work because it is needed by the previous administration but some contracts are given for political reasons," Dr Mahathir said.

He said the new Government would end contracts for all political appointees except in special cases, such as drivers and other positions with lower wages.

"They are not political appointees and they have low pay, it would be hard on them if their contracts are terminated. If we don't need them, we will give them a different role that fits their qualifications," Dr Mahathir said.

He added that the Government's focus on combating corruption and 1MDB is important because the administration wants to recover the 1MDB funds from Switzerland, the United States, Singapore and Luxembourg.

"The money is huge and it can help us pay off some Government debts," he said, adding that up to US$4.5bil (RM17.84) is being held in the United States alone.

Dr Mahathir said that the Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak administration did make any attempt to recover the money as there was no admission that the money was from 1MDB, adding that the money had also been laundered.

He said if officials like Najib are found guilty of corruption, the Government would lodge a police report.

"We will arrest those who are guilty... regardless of personalities," he said.

He stressed that the process of interrogation would comply with human rights.

"They cannot be interrogated right up to 4am... Anyone who is arrested will be treated fairly and if there is a death in custody, there will be an inquest to find out what happened," he added.

When asked if he still wants to continue with the Prime Minister role after realising the extent of work needed, Dr Mahathir said he is not one to complain.

"[The work] is difficult, it is time consuming and energy consuming, I don't get much sleep but I have to do it because they appointed me as Prime Minister so I cannot complain very much," he said.