PETALING JAYA: A PKR official has urged Putrajaya to take note of the desperation indicated in a civil servant’s plea for permission for him and his colleagues to do business to supplement their income.
Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen, who heads PKR’s investment and commerce bureau, said the plea, directed at Prime Minister Najib Razak, showed that many Malaysians were struggling to make ends meet.
“It testifies to the government’s failure to manage the economy properly,” he added.
He was referring to a recent news report quoting Education Ministry employee Azhar Zainulrashid as saying at a dialogue on National Transformation 2050 that allowing civil servants to engage in business would improve their financial circumstances and motivate them to provide excellent service.
Wong, speaking to FMT, said a major cause of civil servants’ inability to make ends meet was the government’s failure to deal with wastage from its budget.
He said it was generally unacceptable for civil servants to do business on the side because there could be conflicts of interest. Furthermore, he added, civil servants had to focus their time and attention on their jobs.
“You don’t expect civil servants to become Uber drivers and all that,” he said. “That’s too much. No one should be working two jobs, especially civil servants.”
He said Putrajaya had the choice of increasing the salaries of civil servants or finding ways to reduce the cost of living.
However, he voiced doubt that the government could afford to raise salaries. “We know that it’s struggling with the budget. So it must bring down the prices of goods.”
He called for the introduction of new subsidies and constant monitoring to ensure that the overall prices of goods were kept down.
He also called for efforts to control inflation and to stabilise the ringgit at its old value of RM3.30 per US dollar. – FMT