Thursday, March 15, 2012

‘Windfall’ must be returned

Posted on 14 March 2012 - 09:19pm
PETALING JAYA (March 14, 2012): Civil servants and pensioners who received a windfall in the form of substantial increases paid to them under the New Public Service Remuneration Scheme (SBPA), will have to return any excess now that the scheme has been scrapped.
“The government will reclaim any money which may have been disbursed under the SBPA,” Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim told theSun today.
“The scheme never took off, so the money needs to go back to the government,” he said.
It is learnt that pensioners had received “new pensions” for January and February, with those above Super Scale C getting as much as 30% more.
Lim said he could not confirm offhand if new rates under the scrapped SBPA had been paid out, and that an investigation would be conducted.
“In any case, if anybody did receive money under the SBPA, we will take it back,” he said. There are about 580,000 former civil servants who are receiving pensions.
The government scrapped the SBPA last week following a review ordered by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak in the face of protests against the new scheme due to the stark salary difference between those in the Super Scale Grade (Jusa) and Premier grades numbering about 2,600 officers, and those in grades 54 and below.
Najib subsequently on March 8 announced the SBPA would be scrapped and the government would revert to the original Matrix Salary Schedule (SSM), albeit with some improvements.
In an immediate response, Cuepacs secretary-general Loke Yim Pheng said it would be right for the government to recover any money overpaid under the SBPA.
“It is fair enough that the government asks for the money to be returned, since the scheme was not officially implemented,” she said.
Loke, who is also National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general, commended the government for scrapping the SBPA and reverting to the SSM.
She said Cuepacs, which has been included in a special commission to be set up by the government to improve the SSM, will help to find a more permanent solution in the best interest of civil servants.
Loke said workers in the agricultural, technical and forestry sectors, numbering around 60,000, were unhappy with the scrapping of the SBPA, but efforts were being made to reach common ground.
“No arrangement can please everyone, but as long as it is favourable to the majority of civil servants, the scheme can move forward.
“We are not demanding equal pay but a fair distribution of wages. It must not create a huge gap between those in the highest positions and those in the lowest. That is our stand,” Loke said.
She said Cuepacs was of the view that civil servants should be paid wages reflective of productivity and complexity of their work.
Malaysian Government Pensioners Association president Datuk Paduka Raja Wan Mahmood Pawan Teh said the association will meet the Pensions Department on March 20 to discuss issues related to the SBPA.
~ The Sun Daily

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