MTUC: Set up mechanism to protect civil servants from being victimised by ministers

A statue of Lady Justice. — file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) is calling for the setting up of a mechanism or unit in the government to protect civil servants from being victimised by ministers.

It wants a high-level independent body to vet such actions by ministers before a particular senior officer is given a transfer to avoid victimisation for personal reasons.

MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon made this call in a statement yesterday, given the frequent accusation of civil servants not cooperating with the Pakatan Harapan government of late, with abounding allegations of a deep state in the government.

In agreeing with Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services or Cuepacs (an affiliation of MTUC), the umbrella body for public sector unions, he asserted such claims and vile accusations should not exist, adding that it was obvious the problem came about from poor communication from the various ministers.

“We do not agree with claims of civil servants sabotaging government ministers. Hence, it is unfair to certain ministers to act against senior civil servants based on emotions and hearsay. This includes immediate transfers from their present departments,” he emphasised.

Amongst others, he revealed senior officials have been put in cold-storage with reduced power to a point where their careers have been adversely affected although they have proven nothing.

“Because of this, there is a dire need for the government to protect these officials from being victimised by certain ministers who are seen to abuse their powers blithely. We have not given the affected officers a chance to defend themselves as we force them to follow ministerial orders,” he added.

Solomon emphasised that there was limited scope for these officials to seek justice in these instances.

He pointed out that while private sector employees had Collective Agreements (CA) that stipulated specific provisions on the terms of employment, public sector employees did not have this privilege, adding that this must be rectified to protect the human rights of these officers.

“The mechanism we are proposing is one that would require ministers to publicly state the specific reasons for their actions to a high-level independent body before we take a final decision.

“It cannot be merely because a minister is not happy with certain officers. This will lead to an abuse of power which we see now,” he asserted.

“I know of a senior officer who is dedicated to his profession given a 24-hour transfer with a health problem as the reason without allowing the officer to recover from a transient ischemic attack (TIA) which he suffered.”

After his transfer recently, added Solomon, this officer won accolades from an international body for his performance in handling a global conference successfully.

Solomon also cited another incident where a minister took disciplinary action against a senior officer without any investigation although this officer had an excellent record with only two years before his retirement.

“This is tantamount to cruelty as the adverse impact on his life is huge. These are among the actions that are deteriorating the relationship between the ruling government and government machinery,” he added.

Solomon clarified that there many ministers who administered their ministries well but there were some who need to move away from the wrong perception that civil servants did not accept their leadership.

He pointed out the Pakatan government also needed to ensure ministers were professional when amending or introducing new laws.

Solomon emphasised it was not too late for Pakatan ministers to change their wrong perception of civil servants or treating them like their enemies.

“Consider them as your teammates to bring about a New Malaysia that Pakatan had promised in its campaign and manifesto,” he added.

On Friday, it was reported that Cuepacs secretary-general Adnan Mat had said that certain ministers were not communicating effectively by making sure new policies were communicated with documents, adding that this led to the officers implementing existing directives. — DayakDaily