26 July 2007

Morale up with pay hike


It’s no dream. Sergeant M. Veera is delighted to see his new salary reflected in his payslip.
It’s no dream. Sergeant M. Veera is delighted to see his new salary reflected in his payslip.

KUALA LUMPUR: They have seen the same figures every month for the past 15 years but beginning this month, a million-odd civil servants and more than 500,000 pensioners will be looking at different numbers in their bank accounts when the pay hike that the government announced in May, takes effect.

In Johor Baru, serviceman Captain Mohamad Shaifol Ramli will start saving the extra RM354 in his salary for his children’s education.

"This extra money, which is 18 per cent more than my previous pay, means a lot to me especially since goods are becoming more expensive.

"I am glad this pay hike finally materialised. This is a promise from a caring government that has come true.

"I will reciprocate by working harder," said the assistant director of the Johor Veteran Servicemen Affairs Department.

In May, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi brought cheer to 1,002,040 members of the public sector when he announced a salary increase of between 7.5 and 42 per cent.

A total of 557,033 pensioners will also enjoy the new increments according to their last drawn salaries.

Abdullah also announced a 100 per cent increase in the cost of living allowance (Cola), which will be RM300, RM200 and RM100 depending on location.

With the increments, the government will up its spending on salaries by RM3.4 billion for the rest of this year, and an extra RM6.8 billion annually from next year. It will also spend an extra RM600 million on increased Cola payouts this year, and RM1.2 billion annually.

Captain Mohamad Shaifol, who recently had his first child and has been in the service for over six years, said his bank account was almost zero every month after deducting payments for housing and car instalments and also living expenses.

"My income was just enough as my wife was not working. We could not afford anything more.

"Although the extra pay will allow me to spend a little bit more, I would prefer to keep it in the bank as savings for my children," he said.

He will also receive a 100 per cent hike in his cost of living allowance.

Administrative assistants Norhidayat Ibrahim and Noormawati Ali, both enjoying a pay hike of 25 per cent, described it as a windfall and blessing for all civil servants.

"It is a timely increment to offset the high cost of living, particularly here," Norhidayat said.

In George Town, Sergeant M. Veera, who has been on cloud nine since the pay hike announcement, got an increase of RM750 under the new scheme.

The father of three used to earn RM2,300 a month.

The 48-year-old, who is based at the Air Itam police station here, said his family had been staying at the police barracks for many years and they were beginning to crave for a home of their own.

"The pay hike certainly comes in handy for me to fulfil our dreams," said Veera.

He also plans to use the extra income on his children’s education.

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