In support of the civil servants’ call for a salary raise

I think I’m in the minority here, but I would like to support Cuepacs’ call for a 40% salary raise for the civil servants of Malaysia. Though I do agree that 40% may be a bit too much, at least Cuepacs president Omar Osman said 10% to 40% would do (Btw, to the uninitiated, Cuepacs is an acronym which stands for Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public And Civil Sector.)

While I generally don’t want to give the lousy personnel in some government departments the salary raise, but the fact that the majority of them do deserve this raise cannot be overlooked. Many of them have slaved away for the government for many years, doing a service for the country but getting little in return in terms of gratitude and appreciation by the very government they served. Can you believe that it’s been almost one and a half decades – 15 years! – since the civil servants’ salary had been reviewed and a raise approved. The private sector doesn’t take THAT long to give their employees a raise in a few years as long as they really deserve it.

As a matter of fact, I seriously think that they do, especially civil servants from the National Registration Department, the Immigration Department, the police force, the fire department, government doctors and nurses, teachers, Public Works and Utilities Department and the anti-corruption agents. They’ve all worked tirelessly and willing to put their lives in the line for the sake of the security and safety of the people. Moreover, thanks to the Prime Minister, I personally think that the civil service has vastly improved their services, though there are still weaknesses that they must work on. But hey, at least they are doing something to improve!

And so, yesterday, I fired off a letter to The Star which was published today, writing in support of Cuepacs’ call, but as expected, my letter is the only public voice willing to support the civil servants call for a raise, with at two letters against the salary raise. Despite that, I still hope that the Prime Minister will seriously think and consider the Cuepacs’ call, because I do think that it’s about time the civil servants get the raise they deserve.

The letter below is the original, unedited version of my letter to the editor:-

I am writing in support of the one million civil servants who are seeking for a 40% raise in their salary (The Star, Dec 11).

As a child of parents who were former civil servants, I certainly empathise with the civil servants who are struggling to make ends meet as a result of their low salary and the rising costs of living. The fact that our civil service is severely understaffed and underpaid is hardly surprising anymore – go to any government departments and you’re sure to find harried staff trying to cope with paperwork and the volume of demanding, impatient customers.

Of course, there are also the rotten few who curi tulang and collect gaji buta but we shouldn’t blame the entire civil service just because of a few rotten apples in the bunch. I concur with Cuepacs president Omar Osman that the performance of civil servants has far improved, it has yet to reach high standards, but at least we’re getting there. A few of my friends have complimented the fact that getting a passport and applying for a MyKad has been hassle free and the horror stories which they have heard of being made to wait for long hours before being served, shoddy work and bad attitude of the civil servants has been unfounded.

The civil service should really give themselves a pat on the back for this remarkable improvement, which I think should be attributed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s efforts to improve the civil service. I hope this keeps up for a long, long time and that the civil service doesn’t regress back to its poor state during the pre-Badawi administration days.

Besides the reasons given by Omar Osman, I would also like to offer a couple of my own reasons why the civil service ought to be given their 40% raise rather than someone in the upper echelons of the government service getting it without having to lift a finger to do the work. The civil servants at the frontlines deserves it more than the high-ranking officials who sit in the office all day, giving orders and making up all sorts of ridiculous rules.

In my opinion, the civil servants should be given the raise because:-

1) It will be a form of acknowledgement from the government of the civil servants’ years of hardwork and tireless contribution for the good of the civil service and the country, not to mention that it will give their morale a great boost, spur them to put in more effort in their work and strive for excellence.

2) The 40% increase in salary will be a great corruption and bribery deterrent – there’s less reason for them to accept bribes.

3) It will encourage more people to get into the civil service now that the civil servants are getting the recognition and acknowledgment that they deserve.

4) The salary increase is definitely good for the country in the long run as it will contribute to the country’s economic growth.

Almost 15 years had passed since the civil servants received their last raise. I think it\’s about time that the civil servants get their pay hike now that they have done so much to improve the efficiency of their service. I hope that the Prime Minister would do the right thing and consider giving the civil servants their well-deserved pay hike.


Well, I’ve given my two cents worth… what do YOU all think?

The Letters Against the Salary Raise:

Cuepacs is indeed asking for the sky
Hefty salary raise will fuel inflation


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