18 September 2009

Shukri Dilantik Ketua Pengarah ICU

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 Sept (Bernama) -- Pengarah Pejabat Pembangunan Negeri Kelantan di Unit Penyelarasan Pelaksanaan (ICU), Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Shukry Md Salleh dilantik sebagai Ketua Pengarah unit tersebut mulai 25 Sept, Ketua Setiausaha Negara Tan Sri Sidek Hassan mengumumkan pada Jumaat.

Shukry, 55, menggantikan Tan Sri Khalid Ramli, 60, yang tamat perkhidmatan pada 24 Sept, selepas berkhidmat dalam perkhidmatan awam selama 37 tahun.

Shukry, yang memilik ijazah sarjana Pengajian Polisi Sosial dari University of Hull, United Kingdom pernah berkhidmat sebagai pengurus besar Lembaga Kemajuan Kelantan Selatan (Kesedar) serta pengarah Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara di beberapa buah negeri.


16 September 2009

The price of public service

The Star

ON PAPER, it looks like a hefty pay cut. Newly-appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala could be taking close to a RM100,000 pay cut every month now that he has left the private sector to join the Government.

Based on the Malaysia Airlines’ 2008 annual report, his income as MAS chief executive officer and managing director was between RM1mil and RM1.5mil.

But his current salary as a minister is a monthly allowance of RM14,907.20 and additionally, as a senator, a sum of RM4,112.79. This excludes other claims and allowances (see table on Page 24) which totals to a minimum of RM25,619.99.

However, it has not been disclosed if he is drawing a salary in his position as the CEO of Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), the unit monitoring the implementation of the key performance indicator (KPI) initiative for the Government.
Jala will no longer enjoy the remuneration he was earning in the private sector. His monthly salary now and then could be a difference of RM100,000.

Surely this spells national service – at a huge salary sacrifice – on the part of Jala, 51, who had already taken a cut in pay and perks when he left Shell MDS (Malaysia) as MD and Shell Malaysia Gas & Power (Malaysia) vice-president to helm MAS in December 2005.

As the man credited for turning around the once-struggling national air carrier, his appointment is lauded as a recruitment of top minds from the private sector.

Datuk Syed Abdull Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) MD who has known Jala for a long time as they were both in the oil and gas industry says: “This is National Service and you do not think twice about it. You cannot say you love your country and turn away when called upon.”

Hafiz, who has high regard for Jala, says that “with that kind of background, it is a very welcome change to have people like him in the Government because he is looking at quantifiable numbers and getting the job done.”

Others from the private sector who have or had been roped in to join the Government include former Maybank CEO Tan Sri Amirsham Abdul Aziz, lawyer Zaid Ibrahim and Tan Sri Nor Mohamad Yakcop who was with Bank Negara.

Remunerating leaders

If the administration headed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is keen to bring in professionals to handle specific jobs and wants to measure the performance of Cabinet ministers through a key performance index (KPI), shouldn’t the remuneration of the ministers, Members of Parliament, senators and state assemblymen be reviewed accordingly too?

If more is expected of those who serve the Government, surely their remuneration should be closer to what they can command in the private sector.

For example, in Singapore, the Prime Minister’s salary is determined by placing it on par with the top corporate earners in the island nation.

Going by that logic, many argue that political leaders holding key government positions are in some ways similar to the top personnel in the private sector and should be paid on the same scale.

But in Malaysia, CEO’s salaries are on a scale that is much higher than that of the PM and Cabinet Ministers (see table). The income is spelt out under the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act 1980 (Act 237).

Cabinet ministers receive a salary to the tune of RM14,907.20 and deputy ministers RM10,847.65. The Prime Minister receives RM22,826.65, and his deputy RM18,168.15. In contrast, the highest paid premier in the world, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, earns approximately S$3mil (RM7.25mil) a year or a staggering S$250,000 (RM600,000) a month.

But, says Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn, Alor Gajah MP and former Human Resources Minister, one cannot equate a minister’s job to a position in the private sector.

“By definition, public service requires sacrifice. Nevertheless, a minister should be entitled to live decently because a politician’s life is very uncertain, and he should be rewarded for his service when he retires,” he adds.

Fong shares that if claims are included, a minister can take home about RM35,000 every month.

A minister is entitled to further allowances as an MP or Senator. For many people, that would mean a comfortable level of income. Fong believes that the political system is different here in Malaysia compared to neighbouring Singapore.

“People here join with an ideal of wanting to change society, so to do that many of us are willing to sacrifice. But having said that, to attract new people to serve – young professionals in well-paying jobs – money would be one of the considerations,” he says.

Elected representatives

MPs are given a monthly allowance of RM6,508.59 per month, in addition to other claims available to them under Statute Paper 235 of 1983 (see table).

The last time MPs’ monthly allowance was increased was in June 9, 2005 (effective from Jan 1, 2004), up RM591.69 from RM5,916.90.

Says Pasir Salak MP Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman of the perception that most MPs are rich: “It is not correct to generalise. There are some millionaires who have become politicians, but the majority of MPs are struggling.”

“While we are given an allowance, we also contribute and donate – especially those in the poorer constituencies. MPs are not rich people, and we sacrifice and suffer quite a lot. The public think MPs and assemblymen are well to do, but actually, they are not.”

He says there are many politicians who were formerly teachers, civil servants, or professionals whose income is not high.

“When they leave their job, they do not have a fortune, but they will still have to make ends meet. They are elected because of their good credentials, and many of them willingly accept the offer to serve.”

Datuk Shahrir Samad, MP for Johor Baru and former Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs says, “I think that as an MP, the pay we receive is sufficient. But then again, I am not a single-income MP.” He receives a pension as a former minister and had a laundry business.

He adds: “It depends very much on your lifestyle. If moderate, it would be sufficient. However, we do receive many requests for contributions and donations and it does not allow us to be too generous when handing them out.”

Wong Nai Chee, former Kota Melaka MP and MCA national youth central committee member says, “There is no reason for us to complain. If compared to overseas, our cost of living is not as high. It all depends on how you use it.”

He says that if an MP were to have an office and to engage five or six staff, then they would be running into a deficit, but if solely for personal expenditure, it is adequate.

Cost of service

Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah says that an MP takes home about RM13,000 a month, with fixed allowances taken into account.

Wong shares that if allowances for attending official functions, Parliament sittings and others are claimed, it can go up to about RM16,000.

It appears that the biggest expense an MP has to pay for is running a service centre. According to Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo-Burne, it can cost about RM5,000 each month.

“Rental alone is about RM1,500, staff about RM1,500, overheads about RM1,000 and other expenses,” he says.

Loh says he receives about RM50,000 for office expenses and RM100,000 a year for contributions from the Selangor state government. However, Sivarasa says that MPs are supposedly entitled to receive RM1mil a year from the Government, but he has been unable to obtain it so far.

If an MP were to rely solely on the allowance, he may not have any extra money to spend.

“There are masses to look after, and a lot of expenses. Very often I had to pay for things from my own pocket,” says Wong.

Tajuddin shares his sentiments.

“Each constituency has electorate numbering in the tens of thousands. Every time I go back to my constituency, streams of people come to me with all kinds of problems. Most need financial assistance for hospital, school or maybe utility bills, and some of them for basic household needs like rice and sugar.

“Many are jobless, and if they want to start a small petty business, they cannot borrow money as no financial institution will give loans to them. And it’s hard to refuse requests for help.

“You can’t say you don’t have money. Normally I do give something. We cannot give much but if they come with a request for RM500, maybe I will give RM100. Sometimes I dig so deep into my own pocket that there is a hole in it,” he quips.

MPs would certainly like to have a pay rise but are practical in knowing that it would be hard to come by.

“In fact, if possible, Malaysians want to see their representatives getting less – the less , the better,” says Tajuddin.

Wong believes that raising the remuneration depends on many factors.

“It depends on the economy of the country. We should not raise income for the sake of doing so but when MPs are underpaid and overworked, it becomes a necessity.”

Wong says that holding public office is a huge social responsibility and the remuneration should therefore not be too far away from what the private sector is paying.

“They should be paid enough so they can maintain their integrity and not be open to corruption.”

Sivarasa says that the current remuneration structure puts a real strain on finances.

“MPs who do not have additional income have to find a legal source of income, otherwise some may be tempted to accept bribes.

“As a political party, we have no choice but to source for donations, and that helps us to some extent,” he says, revealing that he still maintains the legal practice he had before he became an MP.

Tajuddin, however, finds his public office too time consuming for anything else.

“If I am serving people for eight hours a day, it leaves me only one or two hours for some small business trading.

“I would rather appeal for a bigger budget to serve the people. Then we are spared from spending our own money. We also have families and dependants to take care of.”

Insufficient funds

Sivarasa opines that what MPs receive right now is a fundamental flaw of the country.

“It makes our Parliament backward . We have to emulate what other governments do, even in neighbouring countries like Indonesia or Thailand.

“The Government should give parliamentarians more support and the capacity to do the job,” he says, adding that funds should be given to run a service centre with proper secretarial and research staff.

If public service as an MP or minister is not financially rewarding compared to the potential earning in the private sector, why do they do it?

Says Fong, “With public service, you get satisfaction. The private sector is profit-driven, but I am driven by service to the people.”

The case is similar with Shahrir.

“What I get in public service is definitely less than my income from private business. But there is a sense of social responsibility to serve the people and that is what motivates me,” he says.

As for new minister Idris Jala, he told reporters after his swearing in as a senator on Monday that he was happy to be appointed a senator and he would work hard to carry out his “national service’’.

'Lab' test for KPIs before roll-out


By V. Vasudevan

PUTRAJAYA: The government is taking a different approach to find new ideas to implement its key performance indicators.

This will involve its newly formed Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) doing extensive experimentation before implementing any ideas so that the initiatives are achieved.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala said the old method of forming a task force was outdated because "when we implement the ideas we find problems coming up".

Under the new approach, he said there would be a lot of discussions about any idea before we implement.
Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (left) and Datuk Seri Idris Jala explaining the eight ‘laboratories’ that will find new ways to implement the key performance indicators.
Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (left) and Datuk Seri Idris Jala explaining the eight ‘laboratories’ that will find new ways to implement the key performance indicators.

"The problem is identified in the 'laboratory' before we implement any idea."

He said that over the next 100 days Pemandu would be setting up eight "laboratories".

Six will focus on the National Key Results Areas while of the other two, one will focus on 1Malaysia and Unity and the other on data management.

Idris said the eight NKRA laboratories would start simultaneously next month. Each one will have 20 participants, drawn from the best in the civil service.

"They will work towards clearly defined deliverable goals with highly transparent and intensive monitoring of progress," he said at a joint press conference with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of National Unity and Performance Management Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon here yesterday.

Idris said the laboratories would build on work done, experience and insight gained by members of the civil service, with participants adopting intense open debates and a "hands on deck" approach.

Once the laboratories were completed, he said an "open house" would be held to present the findings to interest groups like non-governmental organisations, the media and the public for feedback.

Once the findings and results were complete the implementation phase would be launched.

"The implementation phase will include the roll-out of the 1Malaysia government transformation road-map, giving a comprehensive overview of the government's priorities, including broader reform and delivery efforts as delivery plans for each of the six NKRAs."

Idris said the roadmap would be released beginning of next year.

Earlier, Koh said Pemandu would adopt a hybrid model manned by the brightest from the civil service and private sector.

He said the recruitment for Pemandu had begun with advertisements appearing in major dailies yesterday.

15 September 2009

Najib begins push to transform government

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 15 - The Najib administration unveiled an ambitious road map today for what is being touted as its Government Transformation Programme (GTP) to equip civil servants with “radical, practical and innovative” solutions to increase efficiency.

The two men handpicked to oversee the project – Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and Datuk Seri Idris Jala, announced an outline today of the plan that will see public and private sector particpation as well as a concerted effort to seek public feedback.

The GTP is part of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s initiative to objectify its key performance indicators (KPIs) by fulfilling the six identified National Key Results Area or NKRA.

Pemandu, or the Performance Management and Delivery Unit, will be the vehicle leading the GTP.

“It is a hybrid organisation,” said Idris who has been appointed as Pemandu CEO.

“The composition will be of the best of those from the private and public sectors.”

Idris said Pemandu will focus on three priority activities. One of them will be to conduct “labs” on each of the six NKRAs and two other focus areas.

“The labs will build on work done, experience and insight gained by members of the civil service, with participants adopting intense open debates and hands-on deck approach,” said Idris in his Pemandu presentation to the media.

The objectives of the “labs” is to better equip civil servants with “radical, practical and innovative” solutions as part of the government effort to increase efficiency.

The “labs” will be begin as early as next month and will continue until November.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is also keen on “revolutionising” governance by introducing the “Open House” initiative, a programme to encourage participation from members of the public in providing inputs on how to realise the GTP.

The third activity would be the roll-out of a 1Malaysia government transformation roadmap that will detail the priorities and delivery plans for each of the NKRAs.

“The roadmap will be followed by a the publication of annual reports to update the public on delivery progress against announced plans and targets. It will be distributed to the public as printed copies or online viewing on government websites,” said Idris.

Both the Open House and 1Malaysia roadmap will start early next year.

On Pemandu’s structure, Idris said he had not yet finalised the manpower required but has begun recruiting.

It is expected to be fully operational by early 2010.

Najib breaks down GLC-government walls

By Lee Wei Lian

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 15 — Prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak wants a more seamless environment between government linked companies (GLCs) and the government and this evening he unveiled an exchange programme where selected GLC staff will be seconded to the government and vice versa.

The initiative, called the Government-GLC cross fertilisation programme, comes right after Najib proposed earlier today to open up key positions in the government to talent from the private sector and GLCs in an attempt to modernise the civil service.

The proposal, said the prime minister, was part of structural changes to the civil service Where the best would be selected in an attempt benefit from the “cross fertilisation” process between talents from the civil service and the private sector.

”Why don’t we develop a seamless system and do a mutual exchange of the best from the GLCs and the government? Why don’t we engage in this cross fertilisation so that we produce high performing leaders of the future,” said Najib after meeting with the Putrajaya Committee on GLC High Performance.

The first batch of about 40 staff were selected to participate in the cross fertilisation process today .

Participating GLCs and government linked investment companies include Khazanah Nasional Bhd. Lembaga Tabung Haji, Axiata Group, Malaysia Airlines, Proton Holdings, Pos Malaysia, Telekom Malaysia and UEM Group.

The prime minister this evening echoed his earlier speech about the risks of being “too dogmatic” when transforming the civil service.

He said Malaysia was fortunate to have inherited the British system and not the French or Spanish system but the drawback of such a system was that it was too “compartmentalised” and the nation should not get caught up in a “rigid system”.

“The system has served us well in the past but the world has become more complex and inter-connected. The same system cannot serve us well in a more sophisticated world.”

Najib has been on a mission to improve the government’s public delivery system since taking office, having identified it as one the main arouses against the Barisan Nasional.

The Najib administration had also earlier announced its Government Transformation Programme headed by Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon and Datuk Seri Idris Jala to help realise key performance indicators it had set for itself.

He also admitted that there was a need for the government to justify the high expenses of RM41 billion to maintain the civil service last year.

“The time has come for key positions in the public sector to be opened to talents from the private sector and GLCs and from services other than the administrative and diplomatic service.

“Under this concept, we would be able to benefit from ‘cross fertilisation’ process between talents from the civil service and private sector,” said Najib to thousands of civil servants at a special assembly here.

He asked the civil service to emulate the career development plan and head hunting process practiced by Petronas, PNB and Bank Negara in order to attract the best talent.

He also wanted civil servants to be seconded to GLCs for better exposure to the private sector.

In improving services, Najib wanted operational procedures to be revamped to ensure efficiency.