An unkind cut

  • Nation
  • Friday, 27 Dec 2019

Cause for concern: Dzulkefly said the issue over the elimination of the Critical Service Incentive Allowance (BIPK) for new intake across the civil service beginning Jan 1 will be raised in Cabinet for discussion again.

PETALING JAYA: Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the issue over the elimination of the Critical Service Incentive Allowance (BIPK) for new intake across the civil service beginning Jan 1 will be raised in Cabinet for discussion again.

“I have requested the deputy minister, ministry secretary-general and director-general to meet with the Public Service Department to immediately discuss the circular concerning the allowance. I will monitor the development of this matter.

“The needs of each ministry are different and it is necessary to bring this matter back to the Cabinet again, ” he said in a Twitter post yesterday.

In an earlier post on Tuesday, Dzulkefly wrote “Aduuh!” (Oh my!) in a tweet as he shared the PSD’s move.

In one of his postings, he said the PSD had explained the issue via a circular.

“The abolition involves the Health Ministry and all 33 professions under the public sector. Aduuh!” he said.

In the Dec 20 circular, the PSD announced that the government would no longer give Critical Service Incentive Allowance to 33 professions in the civil service next year.

They cover medical officers, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, engineers, air traffic controllers, architects, marine architects, legal officers, agricultural officers, vocational training officers, marine officers and research officers among others.

This decision has caused an uproar, especially among the upcoming medical professionals who will be joining the civil service to do their housemanship and compulsory service.

In the circular, the PSD noted that no current staff, permanent or temporary ones, would be affected by the move.

Only new appointments from Jan 1 next year will be affected

It said existing contractual staff would continue to receive their allowance as long as their contracts were renewed without any disruption in their service.

It also said the allowance was not meant to be a permanent fixture and could be revoked if any service sector was deemed no longer critical.

The circular noted that a recent study done this year found that all 33 professionals receiving BIPK no longer meet the criteria of the intended allowance, which was to attract candidates for the positions that are in short supply and difficult to fill.

Following the study, a Cabinet committee on civil service chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad decided that existing BIPK recipients would continue to receive the allowance but not for new ones.

The circular noted the critical allowance is one among nine allowances that the government would stop paying.

A frequently asked questions (FAQ) that accompanied the circular noted that the critical allowance amount ranges between 5% and 15% based on the base salary of the recipient, with nurses getting the highest amount (15%).

Medical officers, pharmacists and lecturers receive a flat rate of RM750.

Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman in an earlier Twitter posting disagreed with cutting allowances for new doctors and nurses.

“We should not wrong our doctors and nurses and those in critical services. They are already heavily overworked and underpaid, ” he said on Wednesday.

To resolve the issue, Syed Saddiq said: “I have already reduced 10% of my salary and I will ensure others will do the same until this problem is resolved.”

He also shared his experience of an appendicitis surgery at a government hospital where he said the medical professionals gave the best treatments to all Malaysians.

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