PETALING JAYA: Public Service Department (JPA) director-general Zainal Rahim Seman has vowed to take action against underperforming civil servants under the Exit Policy that came into force in January.
He said the Exit Policy was designed as a check and balance mechanism for the civil service and was mooted last year.
“There is firing and hiring in the government sector these days,” he said.
Zainal said although the firing process was a lot more complex and would not be taken lightly, the government viewed bad work performance as a serious issue.
Last week it was reported that the JPA had identified about 5,000 employees they described as “deadwood” under its Exit Policy who could face termination after a six-month “probation” if they did not buck up.
“These employees are required to undergo rehabilitation programmes, after which action will be taken against them if they still don’t improve their performance,” Zainal said.
Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa was quoted in a local Malay daily as saying that the government did not need civil servants who “makan gaji buta” (get paid without doing any work).
However, Zainal said the Exit Policy was not an exercise to reduce the size of the public sector workforce as critics had been clamouring for.
“We will still recruit new people to replace retiring staff. Only new posts will be frozen,” he said.
Zainal said the government would continue to hire new talent based on necessity and expertise to replace the nearly 28,000 civil servants that retire annually.
He also rubbished the notion that the civil service was kept large as it served as a “fixed deposit” for the ruling party in elections.
He added that as public servants, their basic duty was to serve the people.
“However, we also work for the government, so we have to be loyal to the government of the day. If we don’t want to serve the government of the day, we should just leave the service.”