By Mohd Farhan Darwis
PUTRAJAYA, March 11 — Putrajaya agreed today to streamline the salaries for the police and the armed forces personnel to be on par with other civil servants and will also be pumping in an extra RM1.5 billion to boost the wages of those who did not get an increment last year, in a move seen to be shoring up support for the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in Election 2013.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the salary revamp for the uniformed corps involving 102,434 policemen and 131,904 armed forces personnel would be backdated to January 1, while the changes for the rest of the civil servants — who will see their wages increased between RM80 and RM320 a month — would be effective from July 1.
“All the initiatives announced today are part of the new remuneration scheme, which is the Transformative Remuneration System (SST),” he said, at the 13th Public Service Premier Gathering here today.
Last year, controversy blew up over the proposed Public Service Remuneration Scheme (SBPA), which would have seen the salaries for some civil servants in the top management level increase by RM5,000 while those in a lower pay grade would receive increments as low as RM1.70.
The proposed pay revamp under the SBPA, which was to take effect from January 1, 2012, the salaries of the Chief Secretary to the Government and other top-tier civil servants in the “Premier Service 1” category would have risen to RM60,000 a month.
Following widespread dissatisfaction among the 1.4 million civil servants — who have traditionally voted for BN — over the disparate pay hike, the government aborted the scheme and terminated the services of Tan Sri Abu Bakar Abdullah as director-general of the Public Service Department (PSD) on July 1.
Abu Bakar was previously tipped to be the next Chief Secretary to the Government, but Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa has since taken over.
Under the SST, 182,434 civil servants who have hit the pay ceiling for their grade this year will still get an increment, based on the government’s annual minimum-maximum salary schedule, the prime minister said.
He also said the government has agreed to shorten to 13 years the length of service necessary for a civil servant to be promoted, adding that the exercise would involve 17,000 qualified workers.
In addition, the government will also broaden the scope for civil servants to be fast-tracked for promotion, he said.
The contracts for as many as 50,000 officers, which were to end on December 31, have also been extended another year.
The government also agreed to fix the minimum paper qualification for those seeking to enter the civil service at PMR, the national examination for third formers.
The prime minister urged the civil servants to be wise when casting their ballots in the coming 13th general election.
“Straight away if their past record of fulfilling promises were to be seen, it would be quite bad.
“For them, a manifesto is not a promise. And from that, if a manifesto is not a promise, therefore what reason do we have to believe in the contents of their manifesto,” said Najib, who is also BN chairman, referring to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition bloc.
He said the BN ruling coalition could, if it wanted to, make populist statements, but stressed it refrained from doing anything that could jeopardise the country’s finances.