Don’t say goodies for civil servants are to entice them to vote BN – that would be fake news!

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File photo of retirees

Piecemeal attempts such as this to alleviate the daily hardship of long-suffering Malaysians in the lower-income group are not meaningful at all, writes P Ramakrishnan.

The prime minister has announced that all civil servants will receive an additional annual salary increment, equivalent to one annual raise effective 1 July 2018.

This would mean that those not on the maximum salary scale would receive double increments in 2018 – which happens to be an election year. But this is just a ‘coincidence’; any other conclusion would be fake news!

For serving civil servants, an increment would mean receiving monthly a tidy additional amount – depending on the salary scale they are on. As from July – after the elections – this monthly amount would be doubled – a sort of windfall! But this has nothing to do with the elections; any such insinuation would be fake news!

This generous offer is meant to alleviate the hardship that civil servants are currently suffering from. No doubt, that this is a noble gesture by the prime minister. But why delay this alleviation process until July?

Aren’t the civil servants suffering daily – right now – as a result of the escalating cost of living following the implementation of the GST? Wouldn’t it have been prudent to implement this measure so that it takes effect on 1 April 2018 (never mind that it was April Fool’s Day!)?

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After all, the sooner help comes the better it is for those finding it difficult to make ends meet. Perhaps delaying the effective date was to avoid the impression that the unexpected extra pay hike could be construed as vote-buying. But to suggest any attempt at vote-buying – that would be fake news!

While the civil servants will receive an extra pay hike in July equivalent to their original pay hike, pensioners won’t be that fortunate! Unlike the serving civil servants, pensioners won’t receive in July an equivalent sum that they were entitled to in January. Instead, they would receive 50% less than their earlier increment – which does seem rather unfair. But to say that the government has been unfair would be fake news!

Now, as for the 1% promised for the pensioners effective 1 July – frankly, what does that amount to? In the case of a pensioner drawing, say, RM2,000 per month, the 1% would be RM20 for the month. In simple terms, it works out to RM0.66 per day!

You can’t even buy a pancake or a cup of coffee for 66 sen these days – that is a fact! One decent meal would easily cost RM20. So what is the big deal for the pensioners? It is just good enough for one meal per month! But don’t say the pensioners have been given a raw deal; that would be fake news!

Even to receive this miserly sum of 66 sen per day, which is meant to alleviate his hardship, the pensioner has to wait for another three months. It is not given immediately. It will come after the general election. But it is not planned that way; to impute that would be fake news!

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Thousands of pensioners are drawing much less than the RM2,000 cited in the example above. For those receiving just about RM1,000 or less, this 1% would be but a pittance!

Piecemeal attempts such as this to alleviate the daily hardship of long-suffering Malaysians in the lower-income group are not meaningful at all. But any insinuation that no help is extended to them would be fake news!

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