Underperforming civil servants must buck up, or get booted out: JPA

NOORSILA ABD MAJID


PUTRAJAYA: The Public Services Department (JPA), which has vowed to get tough with underperforming civil servants, has identified 1,250 “deadwood” employees under its Exit Policy, and plans to boot out 701 of them if they do not pull their socks up by the end of this year.

“As of 31 March, 2017, 1,250 government servants scored lower than 60 per cent in their annual performance evaluation. Out of this, 701 have been sent for rehabilitation programmes. If they still don't buck up by the end of this year, we will terminate their services,” JPA director-general Datuk Seri Zainal Rahim Seman told reporters during a special press briefing marking his 100 days in office.

The Exit Policy, which was introduced by JPA last year, was designed as a check and balance system for the Malaysian public service.

“Yes, we do hire and fire in the government sector these days. Even though the firing process is a lot more complex in the government sector, it's not (a light matter). We view bad work performance as a serious issue,” he said.

It is estimated that 28,000 civil servants retire annually, and Zainal Rahim said the government will continue to hire new talent based on necessity and expertise.

“I do not believe in reducing our civil service workforce. I have served as the state secretary of Penang and elsewhere. We need to look at the workload, the necessity and the core business of the respective government agencies when hiring.

“We will continue to recruit policemen, healthcare professionals and teachers because they are always needed, especially with the latest developments in their fields,” he said.

Reminding the 1.6 million-strong civil servants in the country to uphold strong integrity and good work ethics, Zainal Rahim said those who do not feel up to serving the rakyat should just quit.

“We are public servants and serving the rakyat is our biggest responsibility. Those who do not achieve more than 60 per cent in their performance evaluation are not fit to be in the public service," Zainal Rahim said.

On civil servants caught for graft, the seasoned policy maker said, based on the Auditor-General's Report 2016, two government officers were sacked over integrity issues.

“73 officers were given a serious warning,” he added.