The Public Service Department has stated the reasons for cancelling the critical service incentive allowance of RM750 for incoming civil servants from January 2020.
Ostensibly, it is to spare the government a huge wage bill, with a table published in support of how this cost has had, and continues to have, an effect on government emoluments.
The prime minister put the cancellation on hold, according to Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who said the matter would be be further discussed at the next Cabinet meeting.
When the monthly salaries of ministers, deputy ministers and secretaries-general of each ministry are taken into consideration, the amount that doctors and engineers in the government service earn for their dedicated service pales in comparison.
Ministers earn anywhere between RM50,000 and RM100,000 a month, deputy ministers earn an average of RM15,000 in basic salary per month, while secretaries-general probably earn in excess of RM10,000 a month.
How many ministers and deputy ministers do you see pacing the floors of our hospitals and caring for the sick and dying? How many spend time with the sick, attending to their pain and grief?
Do ministers and deputy ministers have only little time to catch up on sleep as a result of doing graveyard shifts and burning the midnight oil to help the sick on the mend?
Yet the government wants to take away the RM750 allowance from doctors, engineers and other such dedicated public servants.
A great number of parents have spent a fortune putting their children through university so that they can qualify as doctors and engineers. Some parents even sold their land and homes to give their children the opportunity to become professionals while some parents had to borrow money to do so.
By comparison, how much did the parents of ministers and deputy ministers spend to see their children turn politicians and, by a stroke of luck, become ministers and deputy ministers?
While we can be concerned about the government’s finances and how difficult it is for the government to meet its obligations, we best remember this:
Someday, we will all grow old. Someday we will need the services of a doctor. We will not need the services of a minister or his deputy when we breathe our last. After all, we will be just another statistic whose vote was all that mattered.
If allowances such as RM750 need to be cut, please take it from people who become detached from you in your ageing years.
Keep it for the people whom you are likely to become more attached to in one way or another.
Clement Stanley is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.