06 August 2007

VSS goodbyes: Throw the book at them instead


WITH reference to your report "VSS for errant civil servants" (NST, Aug 3), I do not think a voluntary separation scheme will weed out the deadwood and shirkers from the civil service. In fact, such a scheme may even backfire.

When I was in service in the human resources department of a government-linked company (I am now retired), I was involved directly in three VSS exercises, all of which left much to be desired.

Given the "voluntary" aspect of a VSS, how can the government, if it adopts such a scheme or something close to it, achieve its objective?

My experience has shown that the scheme, if offered to all in general, will only encourage the excellent but frustrated civil servants to leave for better private-sector jobs.

The so-called deadwood will not accept the VSS. Why should they, when they have a cushy job in hand and will not get anything comparable elsewhere?

And, of course, the government will refuse a VSS exit to good workers as it would still require their services.

What, then, will you get? Frustrated civil servants further angered at being denied a VSS exit. Can you expect 100 per cent commitment from them after that?

Other questions: How does one define "problematic" workers or "deadwood"? Also, why is anyone in the government mulling over VSS, or something similar now, after having given the civil servants a hefty pay rise? Will this not incur extra costs when calculating the pension and gratuities on their last-drawn salaries?

If anyone wants to weed out the deadwood, then there are enough ways indicated in the General Orders — demotion, transfer, disciplinary action and, ultimately, the sack.

Throw the book at them, instead of paying them to go.

If the VSS’s objective is get a leaner civil service, then there should not be any filling of the vacancies created by those leaving on a VSS.

Chief Secretary to the government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan should think very carefully before embarking on any VSS or VSS-look-alike.

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