Thursday, July 5, 2012

SBPA : The Aftermath, Day 4

Sunggoh lama aku tak masuk sini. Sebagai langkah mula untuk mengerapkan kembali hubungan blog ini, aku kepilkan sebuah komen mengenai pembatalan SPBA yang diumumkan pada hari batik terkini (8 Mac 2012). Sebenarnya aku menganggap komen ini adalah responds tidak langsung atau responds segera terhadap satu tulisan dari sebuah blog.

Sila baca. Anda mungkin mengalami kesulitan untuk ke blog berkenaan kerana malware issues. Tetapi cuba-cubalah sendiri kot kot boleh ke sana.

Don Usssooong Montenegrao

Why the Malaysian public should be concerned with the cancellation of the New Civil Service Remuneration Scheme

by Ridzuan Kushairi on Saturday, 10 March 2012 at 18:08 ·

Don Harry's Lomography
Recently, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, His Honourable Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak, announced the cancellation of the New Civil Service Renumeration Scheme (SBPA). This announcement came after lengthy negotiations that came to a stalemate between the bureaucrats of the SBPA and the bureaucrats that represent the Civil Service Union. This announcement came with either feelings or elation or trepidation amongst the civil service. Now that the announcement has been made, the feeling of shock still reverberates across the service. I am a supporter of the SBPA for the very fact that it will serve the public well through a holistic remuneration policy. So this is a public sector issue, why should the public be concerned? The next 3 paragraphs will be on the background of the policy and discontenment.

When the SBPA was initially announced, there were 2 areas of discontent - the Exit Policy and the Salary scale. I searched quite a bit online to understand the source of the discontentment. And my search found the 2 topics too.

The Exit Policy is one of the clauses under the SBPA that deals with ineffective civil servants who have performed badly , civil service posts that are redundant, "sleeping" civil servants, and at the same time invigorate the civil service by allowing them to opt for different schemes under the civil service without loss of pensions or affecting their seniority. There are around 25-27 schemes of service under the public sector. The different schemes represents separation of duties and responsibilities in the public sector. Some civil servants have seen this as effort as an avenue for a blakcmail opportunity, where superiors can use this as a trigger mechanisim to create fear in their subordinates. (note: the firing of civil servants under the SBPA takes 3 years and through many committees represented by independent panel and the civil service Union. Under the old scheme, the only way a civil servant can be fired is if they are found guilty of an offence in the courts of law. In some small offences, even when found guilty in the courts of law, they can still serve the government if the court serves them a low jail sentence or suspended sentence).

Of the 2 discontentment, the biggest argument is the salary scale. The salary scale is in the "Lampiran C". We can call the document a photo of what civil servants make from top to bottom. I have not seen the scale, but apparently the upper crust of the civil service will be getting a huge chunk of money. Now this is where its interesting. When we talk about the upper crust, the picture is of management. Malaysia's civil service is enshrined under Article 132 of the Federal Constitution. What it basically means is that every civil servant in Malaysia is a bureaucrat. Unlike other countries, only their decision makers are bureaucrats. So when every civil servant in Malaysia is a bureaucrat, those who fulfil the criteria of upper management would benefit from this huge chunk of cheese, and not only the traditional managers, the PTD. The discontentment occurs when some find that their salary is readjusted downward, slightly upward and no adjustments. I dont know why this happens but one thing is for sure, but for me this is a non issue for 4 reasons. Firstly, the SBPA bureaucrats have given assurances that this would be negotiated within the next 1-2 years, by which all salaries would already seen 1-2 increments. This would be done through studies, observations and negotiations. Secondly, the readjusted salaries would be backdated to when the policy is enforced. Thirdly, the downward adjustment, will not break out of the market rate. and Fourthly, they are not compelled to accept SBPA, and have the option of rejecting the downgraded salary.

I dont know the intrincacies of the implementation as im far away. But im made to understand that those that make the premier grade would have to resign, then re-assigned as contract managers in the upper crust. What is clear is that if this is true, then this will involve civil servants who deal with public administration like managing public money, managing publis sector human resource, managing public land etc. What isnt clear to me is that will this effort also affect other services in the upper crust? To make it simple, most ministries have basically 2 services - the ones that deals with the core of the Ministry, while the other deals with Public Administration. For example, Ministry of Education has a Director General who deals with education related matters like curriculum and schools, and a Secretary General that deals with Public Administration like finances, human resources. Again the purpose of this difference is the concept of focus of duties and responsibilities. But this is also covered unde the SBPA by allowing cross service option. What is clear is that the Sec-Gen would have to resign from the service and then be re-appointed as Contract Managers. What isnt clear to me is will the Dir-Gen also resign and then be re-appointed? This concept applies to all other services that has a Dir-Gen. Could this be a factor of the cancellation of the SBPA?

So that is the background of the SBPA and their issues. In all, there is no logical or applicable reason for the discontentment. As any discontentment has been covered under the SBPA policy, through studies and negotiations, and the option of not accepting the SBPA offer. The next few paragraphs will discuss why the public of Malaysia should be concerned.

The public should be very concerned with this issue for the fact that civil servants are representative of every layer of society. Yes, so do politicians, but im not talking about politicians. Basically the civil service cannot move without any provision of the law and civil service principles. If the move outside the provision of law and principles, they can be reprimanded in the courts of law or by central bodies.

The public might not see it, but some civil servants are prominent figures in society. There are civil servants, whether they are PTDs, teachers, lecturers, police, army, engineers etc, who become Ketua Kampung, Ketua Masjid, heads of PTAs, heads of social organisation, heads of sports organisation etc. Look into any social or formal organisation around you, and you will find a civil servant being a prominent figure. This is by virtue of their standing in society, very much a social interaction and leadership trait following.

Now why is this perspective important? Now as ive said over and over again. I cannot find any logical reasons for the rejection of the SBPA. Where i cannot find, i cannot read and i cannot understand. I have not found any logical basis of the discontentment. I have to repeat this again and again. So when the civil service rejects the SBPA, this reflects the environment that they operate under. It is human nature to voice opinions by their environment. Its a getting emotional support thing.

The basis of discontentment is covered under SBPA. This is a very important point. So if the basis of discontenment is covered under SBPA, then why are people rejecting this? Three possible and real logical reason is that:
i) Civil servants dont read/ refuse to read/lazy to read the circulars, policy etc; and
ii) Civil servants read but cannot/ do not want to/refuse/lazy to understand the policy. (note: the SBPA is in BM and not some wierd Vulcan language)
iii) Civil servants based their opinion on opinions of their environment, ie political influence or bias or personal weakness, and not based on facts. Opinions are important but opinions with no factual basis is not.

If you are not a civil servant, go ask your civil servant friends or family 2+1 questions.
i) Have they read the policy? (if yes, go to Q.2, and if no, why not?)
ii) Do they understand the policy? (if they understand) What is the policy about? (if they dont understand) Why not?
Most probably you will get answers of lazy, its not my job scope, its complicated (im sure we have some Vulcans in our civil service who write Vulcan policies), i dont know..

So why should this concern the public..The impact of the 3 possible reasons is this...Think about it...If your civil servants dont read these circulars that affects them professionally, then how do you expect the civil servants to read other national policies that affects or dont affect their job scope? And if these national policies are not read, then how do you expect the public to benefit from the potential implementation of these national policies?

Now the most worrying part is that these civil servants are trained, they have to sit for assessments and they are evaluated in their jobs. If they are trained and knowledgeable, then how come they dont understand the SBPA?

The possible reason is that they answer assessments based on experience rather than written policies, or basically they are lazy to understand.

Following experiences is not wrong, but again are these experiences based on the policies, and procedures?

Now you have possibly a bunch of lazy civil servants running the country, not knowing national policies within their job scope and outside their job scope. So how does the public expect national policies to be implemented, supported and relayed the right information to the public?

And the worst part of this is that, you have a bunch of civil servants running the country based on perception of their environment rather than the constitution and the rule of law. This is a dangerous move, as any actions by the public sector based on perception is based on a very high notion of bias. This could be a probable reason why laws and policies are inconsistently applied across the country. Of course, following the law will not eliminate bias as we are not all born as prophets, but the law reduces the opportunities of bias based on human weakness.

So if you want to see where your country is heading, look at the civil servants in society. Go out and have a look at your civil servant. If you observe civil servants as progressive, rational people, then the country would be heading in a progressive and rational way. But if you observe civil servants as lazy and not reading circulars, then you will get the same problem of implementation under any situation over time. This is a product of your environment

Don Harry,
The Mafia Warlord and Despot of the Civil Service...


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