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We deserve better services from civil servants: Yeow

  • Yeow: There is no way we should connive with indolence in the public sector. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily exclusive

PUTRAJAYA Oct 30 -- You may not be aware that our civil servants are actually very much loaded with money. As taxpayers, we therefore ought to demand better services from these people, and there is no way we should connive with indolence in the public sector.

During an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily, the Public Service Department post-service division chief Datuk Yeow Chin Kiong said public servants were not only entitled to their monthly salaries, they could also claim their monthly pensions after their retirement all the way until their deaths, after which their families not only could get RM3,000 of condolence money, but their spouses could continue to enjoy their pensions.

"If the monthly salaries of civil servants are what they are entitled to, the pensions paid to them after their retirement should be considered a kind of 'gift' from the government. In other words, we can say that taxpayers are financially supporting our civil servants life-long."

He told Sin Chew Daily civil servants were also entitled to all kinds of tax-exempted allowances including unlimited overtime pays.

As if that is not enough, Yeow said the civil servants, along with their parents, spouses and children, could also enjoy free medical attention at government hospitals, and such benefits would be extended to them beyond their retirement.

He said if certain medicines were not available in government establishments, civil servants could visit private clinics or hospitals for the prescribed drugs and claim from the government.

He pointed out that civil servants did not have to make EPF contributions while government would offer them 4% p.a. of low-interest loans for house purchase. Besides, he said they also did not require medical cards from insurance companies like ordinary people.

"Since civil servants are provided such handsome incomes and perks, Malaysians should demand better quality of services from them when visiting government departments.

"We always complain that their attitudes are undesirable, not knowing that we are actually conniving with their indolence."

Yeow said Malaysians should lodge a complaint to the authorities if they discovered that some of the public servants were not performing up to the mark, adding that civil servants would lose all their benefits if they were dismissed because of their poor performances.

He emphasised that the public had the right to demand better services from even people like senior government officials, MPs and Cabinet ministers.

RM65.5bn paid to civil servants in ten years

Yeow said the 600,000 civil servants in the country had drawn more than RM14bn in retirement benefits and another RM54.5bn in pensions over the past ten years. A total of RM170m in retirement benefits and another RM800m in pensions were disbursed to the country's civil servants in 2010 alone.

Retirement benefits are one-off sums paid to public servants upon retirement while pensions are monthly sums paid to them after retirement, which will be adjusted in accordance with increments in the public sector.

Civil servants include also members of parliament, ministers, deputy ministers and judges, although the retirement benefits and pensions they are entitled to are calculated in different ways.

He told Sin Chew Daily that the government had to fork out a sum of pensions equivalent to 2% of the country's GDP to retired civil servants every year.

He pointed out that Malaysia's pension system was actually inherited from the British, whereas in many other countries, there are things similar to our EPF but no pensions in the public sector.

He highlighted the fact that corruption in the public sector was particularly rife in countries without the pension system, adding that our pension system to a certain extent had a dampening effect on public sector corruption.

He said civil servants could choose from either EPF or pensions. If they choose the latter, they have to ensure that they perform up to the requirement, as they will lose all their benefits if they are removed from office due to indiscipline or poor performances.

As a result, he said the pension system could help keep these civil servants in good attitudes and work performances, and the public had the responsibility of monitoring their performances.

When asked about the effects of raising public sector retirement age to 60, as proposed in the 2012 Budget, Yeow said this would indirectly help reduce the government's financial burden.

There are currently 1.2 million civil servants in the country, about 17,000 of them retiring each year.


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