Saturday, November 10, 2012

'Christmas shopping' again...

During a meeting with a ministry's officials in Putrajaya on Friday, my view was sought as to how the 'unspent' RM320,000 for an agency should be fully-utilised before year end. I said I didn't have any idea (I actually didn't want to have any part in it).

An officer suggested for a holiday-seminar for 2 nights in Langkawi for about 100 staff, another brought up the idea of organising an 'agency and blogger retreat' for 3 days in Port Dickson while a JUSA C officer proposed a 'leadership course' for 3 days in Gunung Jerai Resort.

I remember giving a talk to a 'more or less a workshop' attended by about 80 civil servants from a government agency in Gunung Jerai in November last year. I found out the workshop was organised to spend the 'unspent'.

Well, this is the time of the year when many government agencies and departments appear too busy organising seminars, retreat programs, courses and others.

Their main objective is not to see result of the events but to spend whatever allocated money left. If they don't spend or finish it, they will be perceived as not able to work on the budget or the agency itself will be seen as not in need of any budget to spend.

This is what we call 'Christmas shopping'. It is still very much in practice but I think this habit should be put to a stop as it is a waste of public fund. The money should be returned to the Treasury for other good purpose.

In his book 'A Doctor in the House', former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wrote: 

In the past, unspent budget allocations for the various Ministries and Departments would be used up at the end of every year for what was called “Christmas shopping”. They were determined to use up all the funds allocated to them for the year; how else might they ask for increased funding, or to resist cuts, for the next year? Public servants try not to return funds because doing so implies that they are inefficient or too generously funded in the first place, so they will do just about anything to show that all their allocations have been spent. Often, it was said, they bought useless things, inappropriate equipment or gadgets that quickly became obsolete after hardly any use.When I assumed office, I announced that this practice would have to end and that funds had to be spent only on approved projects. Departments had to budget to cover only what they felt reasonably confident they could do. Budgeting, I insisted, would not be guesswork; it had to be more precise. I looked over their shoulders all the time and usually drove around on weekends to visit work sites. Rubbish disposal and landscaping were of special interest to me. They say the devil is in the details and I was determined to deal with this devil.

PM Najib should look into this. Ministers and head of departments and agencies should take into account that the unspent money is not for them to spend unnecessarily.

Government's money must be spent wisely, especially in improving the facilities in the rural areas and elevating the peoples' standard of living.

Its time to stop the 'Christmas shopping' habit as it meets no objective, apart from finishing up the money. While we enjoy they seminar and retreat, there are still people who find it difficult to make ends meet.

Think about it!


hulubalang said...

merry xmas bro.

as a dept head, i will organise a seminar for 2 days i nite for about 50 staff in bukit fraser.

it will cost us about rm40,000. the amount of unspent money is 100k... so the balance 60k will find its way to my pocket.


no way to stop christmas shopping!

rambo hashim said...

its a tradition already.

although dr mahathir tried to control it, it happened during his time.

during pak lah, it was rampant.

and during najib, nothing seems to change!

so, we better ask some from the govt for our shopping. why not? even the macc spends money unwisely!

penangan said...

salam tuan,

memang benar. christmas shopping ni sudah jadi seperti satu kemestian setiap tahun.

saya sendiri terbabit mengatur satu program kepemimpinan di awana genting highlands untuk kira2 200 kakitangan kerajaan sebuah kementerian, hujung bulan ini.

saya dengar bajetnya ialah kira2 rm100,000.

saya sendiri sudah biasa dengan program hujung tahun ni, dah berbelas-belas kali.

sebagai seorang kakitangan awam juga, saya sudah menyertainya banyak kali dan tidak banyak yang dapat dimanfaatkan kecuali makan angin dan keseronokan.

saya sendiri pernah beritahu pegawai atasan agar hentikan tetapi dia cakap, "awak tak payah tunjuk pandai!"

Anonymous said...

yoooo, bro!

its in their blood already.

govt money is their money. no auditing needed!

Anonymous said...

Please give us, in the ministry of health hospitals, the extra money to do some Christmas shopping to replace broken down machines and to upgrade some to improve our services to our patients!!!

duit kopi said...


kira halal je la. kan ke kita dah ada halal hub. so, soal duit lebih dan yang tak dibelanjakan kita kira halal je la. tapi dengan satu syarat - ketua jabatan agih2kan kepada orang bawahan. barulah adil namanya!

karipuley said...

yes, its a waste of money but when it comes to spending, we notice most ministries and agencies are spending on unnecessary things and events. even the pm office, when najib first took office, changed almost all furniture and other items, mostly imported, i was told. you call that saving money?

the leaders should set the good example for others. if they themselves are big spender, then the rest will follow suit!

pro-Pakatan said...

padan la muka.

dah kata dah, kerajaan bn ni kuat membazir.

apa kata kita tukar ke pada pru akan datang.


tauke lim said...

the unspent money is for them to spend.

doesnt matter on what they want to spend.

most important is to finish it or next year they will not get new allocation.

that also u dont know aaar!!!

Anonymous said...

bad habit dies hard, bro.

this has been going on and on for so many years now but no check by the top authority.


because people at the top also spend heavily and unnecessarily!

mat gombau said...


sapo la kito nak sughuh dioghang begontikan kojo tak berpaedah ni. dah duit dio.

cumo kito mintaklah janganlah melampau-lampau. tu duit rakyat, bukan duit mak bapak dio.

sprm pun konolah jongok2...

budak sekolah said...

membazir tu perbuatan syaitan.

tapi dah tabiat manusia ni suka membazir, nak2 pulak duit orang lain dan bukan duit dia.

boleh bankrap kerajaan macam ni!

Anonymous said...

few months ago pro-bn bloggers hit out at how pr spent lavishly on one event when actually it was fully sponsored.

now when you brought up this issue, i should thank u because u are reminding the rakyat how bad money management is among the bn civil servants, esp their heads.

the only way to put a stop to this is to change the government!

caplamangga said...

the PAC is not functioning. in other words, those at PAC do not even bother to scrutinize expenditure by the govt, ministries and agencies. so, whats the point of having a PAC when things like these keep on taking place before our own eyes every year? where is their credibility? or are they really independent?

Anonymous said...

mengkaya kan toke toke cina je di hujung tahun.

bila cina kaya marah pulak

dogrong said...

not easy to stop.

in fact, a lot of people at the top dont want it to stop because if it stops, they will miss a lot of RM.

i dont care said...

its sucking the rakyat money. the govt seems not to be bothered at all, and i agree with a comment that our PAC is also taken for a free ride...

what a system we have here!

and in a matter of time, the whole country can collapse on overspending and mismanagement!

hotentot said...

ini satu penyakit pentadbiran namanya.

penyakit yang boleh diubat tapi sukar cari penawarnya.

patut lantik satu panel pembantu bagi meneliti semua keperluan dan perbelanjaan sebegini.

jawatankuasa kira2 awam pun dah tak boleh harap... ada rasuah kot!

Anonymous said...

whats wrong with that?

najib says our givt is rich and has all the money.

Anonymous said...

please give money to gov hospitals and schools ... please let us buy better quality equipments and improve our facilities for our children and our patients..
every year the gov certified vendors kept increasing the prices, but the quality is still the same, and some, poorer..