Paying the price for a fiasco

— The Malaysian Insider
Jul 01, 2012

JULY 1 — Tan Sri Abu Bakar Abdullah is paying the price for the government’s New Remuneration Scheme that caused an uproar earlier this year. The ambitious scheme to reward the 1.4 million-strong civil service crumbled when unions pointed out that they were getting pittance while some 5,000 senior officers were getting stratospheric pay rises.

Putrajaya was forced to scrap the scheme, and in the process, also the move to get top people from the private sector to join the civil service at the top levels. After all, the new pay for the senior officials was benchmarked at the wages given for top white-collar professionals and managers.

While the Cabinet had approved the scheme and even announced it in Budget 2012 last year, they didn’t go through the proposals line by line. The resulting kerfuffle, to put it mildly, was squarely blamed at three men and one of them was Abu Bakar who is the Public Services Department (PSD) director-general.

It is understood the other two were former Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, and Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah.

Yet, Abu Bakar is the biggest loser. He was tipped to replace Mohd Sidek but the new pay scheme’s failure cost him that job. And he refused to go away quietly, sources said, insisting that if he was to be blamed for the salary fiasco, then so to must Sidek as it takes two to tango. And Wan Abdul Aziz for agreeing to the scheme.

Instead, Sidek is now Petronas chairman and Wan Abdul Aziz has had a three months extension to his contract.

But the blames goes beyond this trio.

The salary fiasco is a reflection of the mediocrity in government, for not ensuring that all parties are consulted and everyone is happy before the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister makes the grand announcements to keep everyone happy.

The Cabinet members were only interested in the headline numbers during the presentation, and failed to ask questions about the rest of the civil service. They thought everyone would be happy but only when Cuepacs jumped did the Najib administration realise that something was amiss and they had a hot potato in their hands.

It took them a few months to resolve the problem, and everyone to be apparently happy. Yet, senior officials who had at least a RM5,000 pay rise and pensioners who received a fair amount of money saw it all being taken back.

And Abu Bakar finally losing his job, three years before he is due to retire at the new pensionable age of 60. But should he be the only one loser in this shambolic turn of events?

Of course, it easy to fire a civil servant for such mistakes.

However, in the interests of justice and fair play, all those who had a hand in turning the New Remuneration Scheme into a disaster for the government and the civil service should also be equally punished — be they civil servants or politicians. After all, this is 1 Malaysia. People First. Performance now.

  1. #1 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 7:18 pm

    Three stooges do not a Cabinet make.

    So the Cabnet must also bear some responsibility for its idiocy. But I don’t hear of najib (PM cum Minister of Finace directly answerable for the boo-boo) or Muhyiddin resigning.

    Three clowns do not a circus make.

    So the PSD dept and so many others in between who had a hand to mess the pie should also bear responsibility. The long and short of this fiasco is, my dear najib, do away with mediocrity and thrid-class minds in the civil service. Try for a start putting some first-class honours graduates from harvard, Pruinceton, Yale and Cambridge – not jokers and silly graduates from some silly Xerox-ed institutions or Mentally Inadequate Asylum.

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 8:23 pm

    By right d Finance Minister ought 2 b FIRED 4 d fiasco! How abt dat, NR?

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 8:28 pm

    Leaders must take care to not treat people holding a lower-ranking job (such as office boy and street cleaner) as “unimportant” to them in decision making. This is a lesson Tan Sri Abu Bakar Abdullah has to learn.

  4. #4 by Loh on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 8:50 pm

    ///Tan Sri Abu Bakar Abdullah is paying the price for the government’s New Remuneration Scheme that caused an uproar earlier this year. The ambitious scheme to reward the 1.4 million-strong civil service crumbled when unions pointed out that they were getting pittance while some 5,000 senior officers were getting stratospheric pay rises.///–the author

    Abu Bakar was only following the tradition of NEP. There were at least 5,000 bumiputras get to enjoy the bonanza, with the remaining 1.4 million get the crumb. In NEP, there might be fewer persons getting the lion’s share. It appears that Syed Mokhtar got 10% of the total and Mamaks the bulk of the rest. There are also APs kings whose wealth are contributed by every proton owner.

  5. #5 by Loh on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 8:59 pm

    ///Baru satu pilehanraya and talk so much. Talk so much as if the whole country is being saved by the Chinese. The truth is, the country is in a mess because of the Chinese. It is the Chinese who are to be blamed for what is happening. If it were up to the Malays, Umno would have been kicked out a long time ago. But because of the Chinese and Indians, the Malays were not able to kick Umno out.///–

    RPK is right. It would be stupid of Chinese to keep MCA and Gerakan in the government. MIC is for the Indians to take care of.

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 9:48 pm

    ///And he (Abu Bakar) refused to go away quietly/// – What you want to do? Sue the Govt or join Pakatan? “In interest of justice & fair play”, the other 2 be equally punished? Are we living in another planet? Is there justice and fair play anywhere especially here? Who got blamed who is properly or equally blamed? Within Govt hierarchy Minister in charge of PSD avoids blame, so it falls to Chief Secretary (KSN) unless he can avoid it, to shift it lower down the hierarchy to Abu Bakar the Director General of PSD. You work long enough you should know the name of the game which is to push away responsibility for anything BAD while always taking credit for anything GOOD! That’s politics here (scapegoating fall guy): you think in PKFZ scandal Ling or MCA honhos only ones blameworthy or in NFC’s fiasco only Sharizat & family? Here you are talking of all blameworthy but one singled out. However we have many cases blame is assigned to the entirely blameless based on race or religious faith. Even women get blamed in rape for their dressing, and LGBT for their sexual orientation Whistleblowers get prosecuted whilst the corrupt they exposed get Scot-free! Why large sections of people of called pendatangs because their forefathers, 4 generations ago were from another place! Someone died due to harm another but he is blamed for “suicide”. So where there is no justice and fairness, can one really be shocked? Who got blamed properly who deserved it?

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 10:01 pm

    2 of TDM’s 9 strategic thrusts of Vision 2020 in 1991 were creating a psychologically liberated, secure and developed Malaysian society and establishing a fully moral and ethical society. We are not there yet. So per our present culture, the act of blaming others and the ability to avoid blame is inversely taken as a sign of virtue and intellect.

  8. #8 by raven77 on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 11:19 pm

    Bakar, Sidek and Aziz were all greedy…mau isi poket dulu…..but how did these selfish class of civil servants get there…one word …Najib….especially clueless fellas like Sidek has no skills to run even a mini market…

    The trouble is even Margaret Thatcher had to run a provision shop, go to Oxford and toil years in politics before she got to where she got…

    But our civil servants are always looking for that cuti cuti belajar sambil lawat Venice (AG’s chamber famous for this), naik buisness class, always on leave, after lunch time cannot cari where they go, MC, maternity leave, paternity leave……this gaji buta culture is sooooo ingrained in our civil service that we are as good as gone now…

    Is it any wonder why this country has collapsed…who is minding the store ?

  9. #9 by good coolie on Monday, 2 July 2012 - 12:33 am

    I will only vote Barisan if PM says nambikei and eats thosai with me, and if I get to shake his precious hands and have a photo to prove to my granchildren all these things. After that I don’t care if BN changes Malaysian Indian history and treats me as a good coolie.

  10. #10 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Monday, 2 July 2012 - 8:54 am

    If these heads had to roll for just one fiasco, well alright one m-a-s-s-i-v-e fiasco, then imagine that pemandu’s bubbling fiasco (which until now is yet to be admitted although major and glaring flaws were pointed by experts).

    The fiasco by these three sub-par idiots sank umno by a notch, no doubt. But the fiasco by pemandu could potentially turn the country belly up!


    Jib Jib Boleh.
    Ros Ros Cantik!

  11. #11 by Bigjoe on Monday, 2 July 2012 - 8:59 am

    I actually seen such pay exercises before in a number of jurisdiction. Its no wonder Singapore top civil servants think UMNO/BN leaders are such screw-ups..

    Honestly its was so badly done. How the hell could so many people not have seen it coming? Its unfair to put it all on Ali Bakar certaintly. BUT he is still part of an entire group and system that just don’t cut it..

  12. #12 by Bigjoe on Monday, 2 July 2012 - 11:27 am

    On #5 Loh: RPK conclusion is wrong..True UMNO would have fallen long time ago if not for the non-bumi support BUT WOULD THINGS BE ANY DIFFERENT THEN? Truth the personalities would have changed BUT nothing much else would have been different.

  13. #13 by sheriff singh on Monday, 2 July 2012 - 11:11 pm

    ‘…for not ensuring that all parties are consulted..’

    Since when has all parties been ‘consulted’? And even when there is ‘consultation’ does external views really get heard and considered? At the end of the day, the views of the government of the day and their lackeys will just be imposed on the public who gets conned again.

    Should things turn awry, just find a non-card carrying scapegoat. Then gostan the policy and tell the people ‘the government listens to you’. Hasn’t this happened time and again?

  14. #14 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 3 July 2012 - 12:41 am

    Actually, I feel all the enlightened debate online is good for a few but it is largely casting pearls before swi#ne when it comes to the Barisan Nasional audience. Those guys have no sense and lesser brains, if any. Sometimes I suspect they are the brainless dead.

    Folks, we must not lose sight of the fact that the real battle is not all these mouthings online; it is the real battles to get the message across to voters in homes across the country – in the remote villages, amongst nonchalant urbanites, confused fencesitters and those who have sucked up some honey from the handouts. We must all wake up and so must all voters.

    Do your bit where it matters, folk.

  15. #15 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 3 July 2012 - 12:48 am

    Wow! See what I mean by ‘brainless dead’ .

    Now PSC announced Malaysian job applicants can apply for 9 jobs at one time – Peon, Driver, Janitor, Clerk, Secretary, Chef, Gneral Manager, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Wow!

    The next braindead solution for unemployment – Wow!. Now all degree holders can compete with SPM holders for jobs specified for SPM leavers.

    Wow! WoW! and Wow!

    Najib, now we are finally becoming a high-income, knowledge-based, innovative society. I should join your 1Malaysia Team. No need to use brains.

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