The Government has agreed to five of the six demands by Cuepacs, including extending the retirement age for civil servants from 56 years to 60, and the scrapping of the efficiency level assessment (PTK) examination. However, there will be no RM2,000 honorarium payment in lieu of bonuses for last year. Cuepacs president Omar Osman said that in a 45-minute meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at his office here yesterday, the Government had agreed to all its demands except the honorarium.
“The Prime Minister explained that should the Government give out the honorarium, it may spur another round of price increases, like what happened last year when we received our salary revision. “We agreed that we should sacrifice this demand as we also don’t want certain parties to take advantage by increasing the prices of goods,” he said, adding that Cuepacs was mindful that prices of certain goods such as flour, bread and rice had also been increasing recently. However, Omar said the Government had agreed to the other demands - the extension of the retirement age, reinstatement of critical and housing allowances, pension payment to be based on one’s actual years of service and the scrapping of the PTK exam.
“The Prime Minister will make the announcement soon,” he said, describing the outcome of the meeting as “positive”. “Cuepacs is relieved the Government has agreed to all of the above,” he said, adding that the Public Service Department (PSD) would brief Cuepacs today on the new method of evaluation for PTK. The PTK, which has become a bone of contention among the 1.2 million civil servants, was introduced in 2002 when the Malaysian Remuneration System replaced the New Remuneration System. Passing the PTK exam was used as a basis for promotion in the civil service.
Besides Cuepacs and Abdullah, others present at the meeting included Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, PSD director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam and Finance Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Wan Abd Aziz Wan Abdullah.Asked if this meant that Cuepacs would not be boycotting the Workers Day event on May 3, Omar said the main exco of the civil servants umbrella group was happy with the results of the meeting. “However, we still have to bring the matter of boycotting the event to our members to decide tomorrow afternoon (today),” he said. Meanwhile, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) felt that the extension of the civil servants’ retirement age to 60 should have been implemented much earlier.
Its president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud said this had been MTUC’s request for more than two years. He said Abdullah “was not sensitive enough to MTUC’s requests” previously. “If we compare ourselves to our neighbouring countries such as Singapore, India, the Philippines and others, we are in fact behind them in this aspect. “The retirement ages in these countries are from 60 to 65, and we are only now extending it to 60,” he said. National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng said the union was pleased that the Government had agreed to five of the six demands by Cuepacs. “There is a lot of good news for teachers such as the extension of the retirement age,” she said. Lok, who also attended the meeting with the Prime Minister, said she would be able to brief members after she attended the PSD briefing on the PTK evaluation.
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