Allowance cut was rushed through Cabinet, says Khalid

Federal Territories minister Khalid Samad at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

PUTRAJAYA: Cabinet ministers did not thoroughly read through a paper on the abolition of the critical service incentive allowance before approving it, Federal Territories minister Khalid Samad said today.

He questioned how the paper had been presented to ministers on the day of the Cabinet meeting itself, instead of the usual two weeks before-hand.

Khalid said the Cabinet should not approve any papers submitted on the same day, unless it involved urgent issues, to avoid a repetition of the allowance furore.

The Public Service Department has announced that professionals who entered the civil service would no longer be paid the allowance. The announcement sparked widespread protests, with about 100,000 signatures already obtained on a petition calling for the decision to be rescinded.

On Friday, cabinet minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman said the prime minister had agreed to delay the Public Services Department circular on the allowance and that the Cabinet would discuss the matter at the first meeting in January.

Khalid said cabinet ministers were unable to read the full paper on the issue as it was presented on the day the Cabinet met, instead of two weeks before.

“We couldn’t read everything and it was approved,” Khalid said at a news conference here today. “Why the rush?” he said. The paper could have been submitted two weeks later because the Cabinet meets every 2 weeks, he said.

Khalid said a heading in the report had mentioned an “adjustment” to allowances but later on in the report, it was stated as a withdrawal of the allowance.

“We do not want to say there is sabotage, we do not know, but maybe those who submitted the paper may have thought it was merely an administrative matter,” he added.