KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysia’s king has thrown his weight behind the new government’s bid to slash massive debts inherited from the corruption-plagued old regime by taking a 10 percent pay cut, royal officials said.
Sultan Muhammad V offered to reduce his salary after being touched by members of the public contributing out of their own pockets to a government fund to cut the debt, they said.
An alliance headed by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad won a surprise election victory last month, ousting the scandal-mired coalition that had ruled the country for six decades.
The new government says the country has debts of over one trillion ringgit (US$250 billion) after years of misrule by an administration headed by ex-leader Najib Razak, who is accused of having stolen vast sums of public money while in office.
Najib denies any wrongdoing.
The royal palace said late Monday that the king — a relatively youthful monarch at 48 — would be taking the cut from the money granted to him by the government until the end of his term in 2021, but did not say how much he earned.
The current king, known for his fondness for four-wheel driving and other extreme sports, has been on the throne since late 2016.
Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with an unique arrangement where the throne of the Muslim-majority nation changes hands every five years between rulers of the nine Malaysian states headed by centuries-old Islamic royalty.
Malaysians have so far contributed more than 56 million ringgit to the official fund set up to pay off the nation’s debts.