KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno Youth today described as “irrational” the suggestion by retail tycoon Ameer Ali Mydin that civil servants earning more than RM3,000 a month take a pay cut in view of the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Its information chief, Mohd Kurniawan Naim Moktar, gave several reasons as to why this suggestion was not right.
Firstly, he said, civil servants were not given a six-month moratorium on loans they had obtained from the Public Sector Home Financing Board (LPPSA) and the Angkasa Salary Deduction System (SPGA), as enjoyed by those who had taken loans from commercial banks.
The reasoning behind this was that their livelihoods were not affected by the movement control order (MCO) as the government was paying their wages on time, he added.
“Secondly, salary is a basic right, sealed between the employer and employee. As such, just like private sector workers, civil servants also have their own rights under the Public Service Department.
“This is especially so for the frontliners who risk their lives in the war against Covid-19. That is why pay cuts should be voluntary and not as a whole,” Kurniawan said in a statement here today.
Kurniawan said, thirdly, based on a report by Bank Negara Malaysia, the amount of cumulative debt by public sector workers was RM236 billion, as of February 2018, which is 20% of the overall arrears of Malaysian households.
“About 97% of civil servants have been recorded as owing payments, with 62% of the RM236 billion debt accumulated by civil servants involving loans from non-bank financial institutions. A pay cut would trigger a serious financial crisis among this group.”
He added that another reason was that October 2018 statistics showed that 76% of civil servants had a salary of less than RM5,000.
“Therefore the suggestion by Ameer is not practical,” he said.
Ameer had previously asked how a dip in taxes and the plunge in the prices of key commodity exports would allow Putrajaya to maintain the salaries of the 1.6 million civil servants.
Ameer said it was only sensible that civil servants’ pay be reduced, adding that the savings could go towards helping the poor who were the most affected by the MCO.
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