Tuesday, July 3, 2012
UPDATED @ 02:37:36 03-07-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — The prime minister should explain the sudden termination of Tan Sri Abu Bakar Abdullah’s service as the director-general of the Public Service Department (PSD), PAS said today.
Abu Bakar said he did not retire but that he had received an official letter notifying him that his service would come to an end on July 1.
“The prime minister must come forward to explain,” said PAS’ vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar, adding that it’s a “mystery” that Abu Bakar’s service would be terminated “suddenly” even after the 57-year-old had signed to stay on until retirement at the age of 60.
Mahfuz contrasted this case with that of former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, who had his service extended by contract after he reached retirement age and also “received the gift” of being appointed as Petronas chairman this month.
Mahfuz said, “We can’t allow it (civil service) to be politicised by the prime minister.”
He was referring to rumours that Abu Bakar was sacked due to PSD’s controversial Public Service Renumeration Scheme (SBPA), which was axed after protests from within the civil service over the unequal pay rise given.
“It’s not fair to make Abu Bakar the scapegoat for the failure of the SBPA. All information on SBPA is within the knowledge of the National Wage Council,” said Mahfuz, pointing out that the council was chaired by the prime minister.
The Pokok Sena MP alleged that his sources told him that Abu Bakar was terminated under Regulation 49 of the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993.
“Regulation 49 is only used for reasons of national security,” said Mahfuz, adding, “If SBPA is really the issue, I don’t think it can really threaten national security.”
Mahfuz urged the government to clarify whether Abu Bakar lost his job over the SBPA issue and on the grounds of “national security”.
However, Abu Bakar has refused to comment on the reason for his termination and only said that he was “saddened” by the recent turn of events.
His termination comes amid a ongoing debate over the civil service’s impartiality, after newly-minted chief secretary Datuk Seri Ali Hamsa raised eyebrows when he told his new charges that they “should know better” than to believe the “empty promises” made by the opposition.
The 1.4-million-strong public sector has been a traditional vote bank for BN but the controversy over a new pay scheme and attacks on the ruling parties by PR over bread-and-butter issues may offer the federal opposition a glimmer of hope in the coming polls. But recent days have seen top government officials go on an apparent overdrive to protect the BN government they serve.
Apart from Ali’s message to the civil service, Foreign Ministry undersecretary Ahmad Rozian Abdul Ghani recently attacked a Canadian newspaper for describing Datuk Seri Najib Razak as a “false democrat,” and insisted that the prime minister had “an impressive track record by anyone’s standards”.
A director at Putrajaya’s efficiency unit, Pemandu, also made a public attack on PR on Wednesday for not improving the states it governs and focusing on sniping and criticising the federal government’s efforts.