Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced that salaries of cabinet ministers will be cut in a bid to control spending as the government is facing a high-level public debt that now exceeds 1 trillion ringgit (around 251.5 billion USD).

Speaking at a press conference on May 23 after the first cabinet meeting which was attended by more than a dozen of the newly sworn-in ministers, PM Mahathir said salaries of the cabinet ministers will be reduced by 10 percent.

Other senior civil servants will not be forced to follow suit, but they can do so if they want to contribute towards reducing the cost of running the country, he said.

The PM said Malaysia's public debt is now equivalent to 65 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). Aside from the pay cut, he has been advocating other measures, including forming a small cabinet, downsizing the government and recovering some assets related to the 1MDB state fund overseas.

The Land Public Transport Commission will be disbanded, with its previous functions placed under the transport ministry, while several other "non-essential" institutions will be dissolved, he stressed.

In addition, he touched on the review process of some mega projects, saying the government is studying which will be scraped and which will be continued.

PM Mahathir also revealed that the government is reviewing the contract for the search of the missing MH370 flight, adding that the contract will not be renewed if is not necessary.

Since taking power after the election victory, PM Mahathir has been focusing on performing his commitments during the campaign, including abolishing the 6-percent goods and services taxes.-VNA