According to prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, close to RM2 billion can be saved by reviewing flood mitigation projects that were awarded through direct negotiations.

As reported by The Star, Anwar, who is also finance minister, said almost RM15 billion had been previously allocated for the flood mitigation programme, of which RM13.8 billion were approved through direct negotiations.

Even so, these projects had yet to be implemented by the finance ministry. “That is why I wanted to put a stop to direct negotiations,” Anwar said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday (December 20, 2022), adding that some of these were long-term projects and not urgent to warrant direct negotiations. Under the previous government, the water and environment ministry received submissions for 39 flood mitigation projects, with around 28 approved via direct negotiations.

“From RM15 billion, we could save close to RM2 billion because we have put an end to direct negotiations,” he said while tabling the Consolidated Fund (Expenditure on Account) Bill 2022, which has been approved to the amount RM107.7 billion – it is also referred to as the ‘2023 Mini Budget’.

Anwar also said RM400 million has been allocated to the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) for early preparations for floods. I held discussions with the Finance Ministry last week and this morning to find a way to increase allocations because according to early reports, the flood conditions are worse than expected,” he explained.