12:32pm 06/04/2022
In Keluarga Malaysia, some family members are more equal than others
By:Mariam Mokhtar

In Ismail Sabri’s Keluarga Malaysia, are some family members more equal than others?

Didn’t he promise us last year that no one would be left behind and that in Keluarga Malaysia, all views would be considered and heard?

On April 5, he announced that civil servants Grade 56 and below, as well as retired civil servants would receive a special Raya aid of RM500 and RM250 respectively, on April 25.

What about the B40 group? Don’t they deserve more financial help?

In total, over two million civil servants and retirees will enjoy this benefit. This will cost the taxpayers a staggering billion ringgits. Is this fair?

Here is a snapshot of the current global situation.

The worldwide recession, the cost-of-living crisis, the rising cost of food and indirect effects of the war in Ukraine which will soon show up across the world including in Malaysia, when wheat flour, sunflower cooking oil and petrol and gas prices rise.

The coronavirus pandemic made things worse. People were made jobless, companies stopped trading, borders were closed, and businesses which depended on the tourist trade were affected.

On a different level, foreign investors prefer to invest in neighboring countries, and if that was not bad enough, flooding has plunged many into misery.

Only giving aid to the civil servants does not seem fair. During the pandemic, government servants were in employment and did not have to worry about their monthly incomes.

They did not lose their jobs, nor had to go through furlough, unlike people in the private sector where many employees suffered huge setbacks and losses.

In the private sector, many breadwinners lost their jobs when companies were forced to cease trading. Other employees had to accept a lower pay.

Many had little choice but to work in two or three jobs to survive.

Only giving aid to the civil servants does not seem fair.

What is the justification for offering civil servants Raya aid?

Civil servants and politicians do not suffer like the rest of us. Our bloated cabinet enjoys generous perks on top of their wages. Our bloated civil service is over 1.5 million people. Retirees receive a pension.

If any aid had to be dished out, the logical recipients should be the B40 group who are desperate for help.

What is the rationale behind this payment especially as our national debt is a staggering trillion ringgits? How is Zafrul Abdul Aziz going to find the billions of ringgits for this handout? Will he be forced to borrow more money and increase our debt burden?

Labeling this handout as an Aidilfitri aid looks as though only a certain section of the community is being helped.

Malaysia is a multi-faith and multicultural society. If Raya aid is to be distributed, will the same be done for Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Christmas, Gawai and other festivals?

Ismail stated that he wanted to recognize the services and sacrifices of civil servants in the execution of their duties and responsibilities during this challenging period.

He seemed to suggest that civil servants were the only ones who contributed and made sacrifices. Why is he alienating the rest of the population?

All Malaysians have made huge sacrifices. Many did not seek recognition but volunteered their services. Others acted because helping people in need was the right thing to do.

These selfless Malaysian volunteers should also be rewarded!

Taxpayers’ money is used to fund this aid. Why can’t civil servants be asked to live within their means like everyone else? What makes them so special and privileged?

We pay our taxes, too. We would rather the money be used for more deserving people and causes. This exercise will deplete the treasury of the much needed resources.

This then begs the question about civil servants’ performance.

At one time, we were bombarded with messages like Key Performance Index (KPI) and performance. Is this Raya aid in addition to their normal performance bonuses?

Giving out Raya money when the rest of the population is suffering is irresponsible.

Many poor students are unable to buy laptops for their university work. Many depend on strangers and NGOs for food and basic necessities. These people deserve help, not the civil servants!

Many Malaysians have experienced shabby treatment by civil servants whose performance leaves much to be desired.

Having a bloated civil service does not help, as it is the quality, not the quantity of civil servants which is important.

Now is the time to shrink the civil service. Weed out the deadwood, get rid of underperformers and time wasters but retain the good ones.

Money should not be wasted just to court votes.

It is obvious that the Raya aid has nothing to do with rewarding civil servants for services rendered.

GE15 is around the corner and to many, this special bonus appears as a bribe to motivate the civil servants who form the bulk of the ruling party’s vote bank, to continue to vote for them.

This Raya aid is like the convicted felon Najib Abdul Razak’s “I help you, you help me”.

There is no justification for it. Taxpayers’ money should be used to help the B40 and not civil servants.


  1. Astro Awani: Keluarga Malaysia: ‘Setiap pandangan dan luahan rakyat mesti didengari, ini janji saya’ – Ismail Sabri
  2. Malaysiakini: Civil servants to get RM500 aid for Aidilfitri

(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)


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