If you want to cut allowances, start from the top — Jasmine Cho

DEC 25 — It is rare these days, that we see the government making real, substantial decisions. Unfortunately, when it does occur it is the kind of decision that leaves us scratching our heads wondering why?!

The latest questionable decision is the government’s announcement that they will no longer be giving the “critical service incentive” to doctors, nurses, engineers, and other professionals who join the civil service starting from 2020. Their reasoning being that, after a 2019 review, they found these jobs no longer fit the right criteria to be deserving of a critical allowance.

The decision came after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mahathir and will affect all 33 civil service schemes that have received this allowance since 1992.

Let’s pause and think about this for a second: they are saying doctors, nurses, and those in other vital positions, the people that are notoriously overworked, underpaid, and are saving lives every single day are no longer worthy for a critical allowance?

The decision seems even more ludicrous when you think about allowances given to government officials and their exorbitant annual incomes.

In November, the MACC published the salaries of Pakatan Harapan members. Their findings revealed some interesting figures. According to the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act 1960, prime ministers are paid RM22,826.65 per month while MPs are paid RM16,000.00 per month. This of course, does not include the multiple allowances accorded to them, including holiday allowance which they are enjoying as we speak.

Our honored prime minister’s income has seen a jump of 31%, reaching RM100,004 per month, not to mention the numerous pensions he has accumulated throughout his time in politics. This reveals the current political pension scheme in Malaysia as one that allows our grabby politicians double up as ministers and move from state to state in order to claim multiple pensions.

Since Pakatan Harapan has came into power, we have also seen new posts invented, special advisor positions created, all in an effort to provide a cash flow to their unemployed politician friends.

Contrasting the ever-increasing incomes, pensions, and allowances that are granted to those in politics to the ever-decreasing funds allotted to civil servants, it is becoming crystal clear that our government will do anything to cut from the bottom, rather than the top.

This decision to cut the allowance of those working in the public healthcare system is not only unfair, but it could have drastic consequences. If young medical professions have no incentive to go into the public sector, it may lead to a situation in which public hospitals are understaffed and people are forced to visit private clinics that are able to charge as much as they please to those who have no other option.

It is time our prime minister and our government officials look at themselves in the mirror and feel the weight of their overflowing pockets.

When we need to cut allowances and expenditure, cut from the people who have plenty, not from those who are actually sweating every day to serve and save their people.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.
 

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