JOHOR BARU, Nov 30 — The Amalgamated Union of Employees in Government Clerical and Allied Services (AUEGCAS) urged the government to review the administrative assistant service scheme through a new remuneration system as it has remained at its appointment grade for more than 70 years.

AUEGCAS president Ashman Mohd Nawawi said conditions for appointing administrative assistants using Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) as an educational entry certification needed to be upgraded to the Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) or its equivalent.

He said the failure to review the appointment conditions of the service, which uses the SPM qualification, have caused the salary scale of administrative assistant at Grade 19 to be at the poverty level.

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“The Grade 19 salary scale of the administrative assistant service scheme for example starts at RM1,352, excluding allowances and it is at the poverty line,” he said after attending the Johor Public Service Administrative Assistant Transformation Programme at Hotel Seri Malaysia here today.

He was commenting on the need to review the entry-level qualifications for the government’s administrative assistant service scheme for SPM holders that has been in Grade 19 for the past 73 years.

Ashman, who is also Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) vice president (public sector), said with the increasing service responsibilities there are 350,000 amalgamated union members who are administrative assistants with Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees and even doctoral (PhD) qualifications nationwide.

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“We were informed that the main reason was that there has not been a review for this scheme as it will involve a very large financial implication.

“However, in the long run, it is actually a cost-saving measure as the government can reorganise its various schemes to minimise overlapping duties in the public service.

“This includes being able to reduce the supervision hierarchy, which currently has six layers before instructions for a particular task are given to administrative assistants, saving manpower and time,” he said.

Meanwhile, AUEGCAS national secretary-general Amir Hamzah Yakat Ali said the amalgamated union hoped that the administrative assistant service scheme would be improved and revised.

He said that the grade’s appointment conditions can be changed, which is an increase from Grade 19 to Grade 29 due to the educational entry qualification that is SPM.

“The current batch of employees have a higher level of education qualifications as well as increasing work responsibilities.

“We have also held a meeting with the Chief Secretary to the Government (Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali) and the Public Services Department director-general (Datuk Zulkapli Mohamed) to request that a review of the administrative assistant service scheme be made,” he said, adding that it also involves the appointment conditions for 350,000 AUEGCAS members.