A CIVIL servant from Malaysia’s Education Ministry was finally sacked recently after being absent from work for over 2,000 days, highlighting the level of leniency afforded to the government’s bloated workforce.
The country’s Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid said this was among the severe cases of disciplinary problems that prompted the government to take action against errant civil servants.
In his speech during the launching of the ministry’s Integrity Day, Mahdzir urged the civil servants to uphold integrity to avoid being dismissed from their jobs.
“This incident happened in a rural school and we do not actually know how the employee could be absent for up to 2,000 days,” he said as quoted by Channel News Asia (via Astro Awani).
“We don’t know what the problem was – the principal was persuading the employee to come to work for years,” he added.
The minister did not reveal the identity or the rank of the fired worker or whether she or she was a teacher, but added that it could be from other designations like school clerk or lab assistant.
“We take into consideration the fact that civil servants staying in rural areas sometimes are forced to take a boat for six hours, then drive for two hours before walking for another four hours to finally get to work … but I’m not saying that’s what happened (in this case),” he said.
He said those who faced personal problems such as debt and daily burdens should refer to counsellors who were placed in all departments.
Observers have said Malaysia’s government is facing a dilemma over the bloated civil service, which employs over 1.6 million people among a population of roughly 31 million.
In February, Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani said the government expenses on salary rose from RM22 billion (US$5.2 billion) in 2003 to RM74 billion (US$17.7 billion) in 2016. In 2003, the pension of civil servants was RM5.9 billion (US$1.4billion), but it soared to RM19 billion (US$4.5 billion) in 2016, according to Free Malaysia Today.