Mahathir Mohamad

Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has slashed salaries of ministers by 10 percent and also cut public spending.

The decision was taken to control spending as the new government deals with high-level debt, the 92-year-old leader said exceeded more than one trillion ringgit (251.5 billion U.S. dollars).

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Mohamad on Wednesday made the decision known at the first cabinet meeting which was attended by more than a dozen of the newly sworn-in ministers.

“We are concerned about the country’s financial problem,” Mahathir told reporters after the meeting.

Mahathir said he will not force other senior civil servants to follow suit, but he said they can do so if they want to contribute towards reducing the cost of the running this country.

In addition, he said the government is reviewing the contract for the search of the missing MH370 flight.