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Author: savemalaysia   |   Latest post: Tue, 23 Apr 2019, 5:40 PM


Najib agrees with downscaling civil service but denies ‘bloated’ claim

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — The downscaling of the civil service to avoid redundancy is acceptable, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

However, the former finance minister said that the rationalisation plan must only be carried out after proper analysis and comparison, and not based purely on rhetoric. 

Speaking to reporters in Parliament today, the Pekan MP however disagreed with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s claim that the government sector is bloated.

“You see, more than about half of civil servants are teachers and nurses. So we have a young population. We keep on building new schools, additional schools, and it requires teachers. So it is not as easy as to cut down the size of the civil service, and also if you do a comparison, you have to compare apple to apple.

“Most countries, the police and the military are not included in the total number of civil service. In Malaysia’s case, we include everybody.

“So if you do a proper analysis, we may not be as bloated as what they say it is, but if there are areas in which you can reduce jobs that are redundant and so forth, why not? I mean if there are organisations that can be pruned down, then why not?” Najib told reporters.

He was asked to comment on Dr Mahathir’s statement that the civil service is over-staffed, leaving a dent in Putrajaya’s coffers.

“It has to be a proper comparison as to what the ideal number of civil servants is, and it cannot be based on rhetoric. It has to be based on proper analysis, proper study and it has to be compared light to light,” Najib said.

Najib also disagreed with Dr Mahathir’s privatisation plan for parts of the civil service as a viable solution, pointing to the fate of the loss-making national flag carrier, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB).

“It depends. Privatisation has not been the panacea. As you know, we privatised MAS before, during his time and we had to buy back at the same price as before. So we had to spend about RM1.6 billion buying back.

“So it was a privatisation that went awry, but we rescued that privatisation,” he said, adding that certain conditions must be met before looking to privatisation as the ultimate recourse.

During the question time in Parliament today, Dr Mahathir reiterated that the privatisation policy introduced during his leadership, when he was then fourth prime minister, is still very much relevant today.

He said that the government will evaluate the feasibility of privatising sections of the civil service.

Citing a similar drive that led to the corporatisation of Telekom Malaysia (TM) in 1987, he said this would save the jobs of civil servants.

Malaysia has over 1.6 million workers as part of its civil service, leading to allegations that the sector was “bloated”.

However, the figure also includes the country’s law enforcement and security personnel as well as public educators, which are customarily not counted as civil servants by other countries.


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