Under fire, Public Service Dept defends review of critical allowance

Jerry Choong
On December 20, JPA announced that doctors, engineers, architects and various professionals once deemed vital to Malaysia’s development will no longer receive a ‘critical’ allowance when they join the civil service starting January 1, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 — The Public Service Department (PSD) has said the Critical Service Incentive Payment (BIPK) allowance for civil servants is reviewed every five years, so as to determine whether it ought to be granted.

It said the BIPK allowance is in principle impermanent and can be withdrawn if the relevant service scheme is deemed to be no longer critical.

“In the 27 years since BIPK was first implemented in 1992, reviews have only been carried out thrice, in 1997, 2001, and 2007. The latest review conducted this year has determined that 33 service schemes with BIPK are no longer critical in nature, due to factors such as low offering features or the filling of difficult job posts,” said the department in a statement.

It also addressed rumours circulating on social media that the BIPK will be repealed altogether, stating this only applies to appointments from January 1, 2020 onwards.

“Existing BIPK recipients will not be affected by the repeal and will continue to receive it per Specially for the Incumbent under existing rates, as stated in the Service Circular Letter 17, Year 2007, up until the recipient leaves the service.

“As for contractual service officers, they still qualify to receive the BIPK allowance as long as they are reappointed via contract continuously with no disruption in their service duration, up until the contract expires,” the department said.

Allowance reviews will be conducted from time to time by the department, with the government considering if there are any service schemes or certain disciplines which fit the criteria to receive the allowance.

The repeal of the RM750 monthly allowance is expected to affect various jobs next year, including medical professionals, engineers and architects, among others.

This has led to criticism from various parties, such as Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, who said it would be better to review the allowance granted to politicians and ministers instead.

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