It is a cautionary tale for the ages.
In 2018 South Africa announced a halt to salary hikes for its civil servants. Payments for government servants had reached 35% of total government expenditure1 and if left unchecked, the government was afraid that the spending would push public finances off the fiscal cliff.
The same situation applies to Malaysia. For many years, the largest component of government operating expenditure has been civil servant salaries or emoluments;2 and over the last 10 years, its growth has far outpaced other expenditures. In 2008 the emoluments stood at RM41.0bil, or 27% of total expenditure. The figure was forecasted to grow to 34% or RM81.3bil by 2018.3
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