KUALA LUMPUR: Public-sector unions have been urged to focus on improving productivity and looking after the interests of civil servants.
Responding to a recent proposal by Congress of Unions of Employees in Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Datuk Azih Muda for civil servants to contribute at least RM10 to Tabung Harapan Malaysia (THM), national administration analyst Prof Dr Ahmad Bashawir Abdul said it should focus on enhancing the productivity and efficiency of the public service rather than encouraging civil servants to contribute to the fund.
“When contributing to THM, the effects are only temporary (to help the government reduce its debts) but efforts aimed at improving work performance and quality will yield long-term benefits for the government and nation,” said Ahmad Bashawir, who is assistant vice-chancellor at Universiti Utara Malaysia’s College of Law, Government and International Studies.
“We want the productivity of civil servants to increase and that’s what they (Cuepacs) should be striving for.”
He felt that one of the reasons for the inefficiency of the public service under the previous government could have been the fact that the performance of civil servants did not meet public expectations.
“Every year, a large amount of funds are allocated for expenditure by the various ministries but their productivity has yet to reach a level that we can be proud of when compared to that of developed countries, including Singapore,” he told Bernama.
On Monday, Azih said the decision on the proposal for civil servants to voluntarily make a one-off contribution to THM was made at Cuepacs’ meeting on June 26.
He said Cuepacs targeted RM10 million in donations for THM, given that there were now 1.6 million civil servants in the country. He also suggested that the contributions be made via salary deductions in August.
Ahmad Bashawir said any intention pertaining to helping the government need not be restricted to THM as there were other aspects where the public sector could help.
Besides enhancing productivity and efficiency, they could also focus on addressing issues related to bureaucratic red tape and abuse of power among civil servants.
“It’s not a bad thing to contribute to the fund (THM) but what we want (for Cuepacs to do) is something more relevant as we want our new government to be better and more competitive than its predecessor.
“The congress should be thinking of how the civil service can help to deliver Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto, instead of focusing on matters like contributing RM10 to a fund,” he said.
Federation of Malay Students Union (GPMS) president Zambri Mohd Isa, meanwhile, said Cuepacs’ actions should not be motivated by political or self-interests as its objectives centred on safeguarding the welfare and interests of its members.
“It should be taking care of issues like salary increments and payment of bonuses in view of the rising cost of living.
“Under the previous Barisan Nasional government, Cuepacs used to be vocal on the rights of civil servants, so why aren’t they continuing to do so now?”
He said civil servants can show their love for their country by being disciplined and discharging their duties in a trustworthy and responsible manner.
Civil servant Nurhayati Zainuddin, 39, said the proposal by Cuepacs for civil servants to contribute to THM may be misunderstood by some people.
“Cuepacs has said that the contribution should be made on a voluntary basis but when it affects the civil service it will become a sensitive matter, more so when it involves deducting the contribution from our salaries in August,” she said, stressing that THM should not be used as a tool by any organisation to demonstrate their support for the Pakatan Harapan government.
As at 3pm, July 8, total contributions to THM stood at RM142,666,608.