PETALING JAYA: A group of 52 civil servants who were axed while on a government-sponsored sabbatical have denied claims by a senior lecturer that they were not fit to be in the course.
The civil servants, who were pursuing a postgraduate diploma in public administration at the Institute of Public Administration (Intan) in Kuala Lumpur, were let go on Nov 30 for failing to get an A- for the “sahsiah” or personality module.
They claimed the passing grade for the module was raised from B to A- just three days before they were asked to leave.
At a convention the month before, a senior lecturer indicated that the batch failed to meet the standards required of high-ranking administrative and diplomatic officers (PTD).
In a statement to FMT, the axed group, who wanted to be known as the “G52 Representatives”, said they disagreed with the lecturer’s claims and felt a power play between them and the older batches of students had resulted in their dismissal.
They said it was hard to believe the lecturer’s claims when they had gone through a stringent process to be shortlisted from more than 3,000 other applicants to be part of the course.
One of the entry requirements, they said, was to have at least 90% in appraisal marks for three consecutive years from their heads of departments. Another requirement was a minimum five years in service.
“So how could the senior lecturer question the credibility of these 52 individuals’ ‘sahsiah’ when all of them obtained 90% appraisal marks from their previous department, which also took into account this ‘sahsiah’ component?” the group asked.
The group said the allegations made against them were “irresponsible”, “disheartening” and “hard to chew on”, especially since they came from a senior lecturer whom they claimed had praised them on many occasions before.
The 52 students were part of a larger 86-member group selected to take part in the course. They were to be promoted to PTD officers upon completion of the programme.
The PTD position is coveted by many as it allows a person to hold top posts in the civil service.
However, this group was different from previous batches as they were existing civil servants from various departments across the country on a sabbatical with Intan. They went through all training like regular PTD officers, except for the military component.
On another claim by the lecturer that the 86-member student group lacked the “DNA or spirit of PTD officers”, the group said the remarks smacked of a tribal mentality stewing in the PTD service.
“Being a PTD officer has nothing to do with lacking the ‘DNA or spirit of a PTD officer’.”
The group also felt a “small fraction” of existing PTD officers wanted this group of 52 students out, without saying why.
As for a claim by the lecturer that one of the 52 students had challenged the authority of another lecturer by questioning the person’s qualifications, the group said this incident had been taken out of context.
They said the student had merely asked the question as an ice-breaker and wanted to see if both of them had graduated from the same university.
The group said the lecturer later told several other students she was not happy with such questions, following which the student apologised. This apology was accepted, they said.
FMT has contacted Intan for comment and is awaiting its reply.