The recently revealed (and stalled) new remuneration scheme for the public service (SBPA) is, to say the least, appalling and vulgar: it reportedly feeds top government officials more than they can chew while leaving those in the lower rungs with paltry sums.
If the main objective of the new pay scheme is to solve the problems of lower-rung civil servants who are struggling to make ends meet in the face of the rising cost of living, then what has been put on the table isn’t really a smart and just solution. If anything, it smacks of insensitivity towards the concerns of these lower-rung civil servants.
Those involved in drawing up the new scheme seem to be the elite in the public service. The way the scheme is designed suggests that the rationale wasn’t to improve the lot of of those who are struggling in the bottom rungs. Instead, the scheme appears to award the elite as much as possible, without any qualms, at the expense of the poor.
The glaring difference between the proposed increments for higher-level officials and those for the lower-rung categories is simply outrageous. To offer, say, certain drivers a meagre increment of RM1.70 (as reported) is indeed humiliating for them especially when contrasted with the increments of those in the upper echelon, who are said to potentially gain at least a few thousand ringgit.
Apart from this, the withdrawal of the tier system within the various income brackets results in the jumbling of seniors and juniors. This could cause dissatisfaction and may be perceived as an injustice by those who have served longer and accumulated much experience.
Aliran calls upon those responsible for formulating and reviewing the new pay scheme to look into its social, financial and political implications. As it is, our society has seen persistent growing income disparities, and this scheme, if not conscientiously revised, would only aggravate the situation.
Dr Mustafa K Anuar
19 January 2012