PETALING JAYA: The public services department (JPA) will launch a probe into an allegation that press secretaries for several ministers have not received their salaries, despite having been employed for a number of months since the establishment of the unity government.
JPA director-general Zulkapli Mohamed said this was to ensure that immediate action can be taken, Berita Harian reported.
“We will look into it and gather more information on the matter so that the relevant action can be taken,” he was quoted as saying.
The Malay daily also quoted a source close to the matter as saying that the issue was never raised in any meeting this year, with the last taking place about two weeks ago.
“Several press secretaries were taken by surprise over news reports on the matter as it was not heard of or discussed either externally or in meetings.
“In the latest meeting, an officer did raise concerns about salary payments, but it was not related to press secretaries not getting paid at all,” the source said.
The source added that such matters must be addressed internally through the appropriate channels in a “professional” manner, rather than being aired out in public.
FMT previously quoted three press secretaries, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that they could not carry on much longer without salaries and might have to resign.
One said they were tempted to leave for a corporate job that offered higher pay but that they did not wish to “leave my minister halfway”.
Another who has been on the job for six months said fellow aides had not been paid a “single sen this year”, adding that the press secretaries had been informed that the delay was because Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had yet to sign their letters of appointment.
Ministry officials had shown them the paperwork to prove that officials were working to get their salaries paid, and were only waiting for the prime minister’s endorsement.
Another press secretary said they had written to JPA through the minister’s senior private secretary but had yet to be informed of any response.