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PETALING JAYA: The government should continue to help low-ranking members of the civil service by providing special financial assistance and additional salary increment, but higher-ranking civil servants should forgo them.

Several retired senior civil servants believe money that would be given to higher-ranking civil servants could be better spent by helping the poor and needy.

Former treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim said there are public servants who need aid and these are the people the government should look at helping.

He said if the government wants to help the serving and retired civil servants, then any special allowance should go only to low-ranking staff, not high-ranking officers.

“The public at the bottom of the income level need the most help and the government should concentrate on helping these people.

“Some of them have lost their jobs, others are unemployable. These are the people who need the most help.”

Sheriff said instead of giving allowances to high-ranking officers, the money could be better spent on the B40 group, which is facing hard times due to the high cost of living.

He said it is the low-income groups that really need help, adding that announcing allowances for civil servants is not necessary, especially for high-ranking officers, as the money could be better used for other purposes.

He also said helping low-ranking civil servants was a good idea but the rest of the money should be spread out to help the poorest of the poor.

On Dec 20, the unity government agreed to proceed with an additional annual salary increment of RM100 for civil servants in Grade 11 to 56.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the government has also agreed to grant a special financial assistance of RM700 to civil servants in Grade 56 and below, and RM350 to one million government pensioners.

Former transport ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said bonuses and allowances should not be given to all civil servants, but only to those who are facing difficulties.

He said even raising the salary of civil servants should be reconsidered as not all of them need a pay hike.

“High-ranking civil servants such as secretaries-general and department heads will understand why they will not be getting any special allowances if the prime minister explains the reasons to them.

“The government must quantify the savings it is making when explaining it to high-ranking civil servants and also state how and to whom the money will be given.”

Ramon said communication is very important between the government and senior civil servants to make them understand why they are being asked to make such a sacrifice.

He added that they need to feel satisfied that they are doing a good deed and helping those in the B40 group, who are in dire need of assistance.

Most senior civil servants will understand the sacrifice they have to make, especially when ministers are taking pay cuts, he added.

Ramon also said the government will need to thank them for giving up their allowances and allow the poorer segment of society to benefit from it.

He said many people today are living hand-to-mouth and this small sacrifice from senior civil servants will provide them with some relief.

“The public will have more respect for the civil servants who are making this sacrifice. Many of them do not have to worry about not having a job when people in the private sector are being laid off.”

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