Date of publication: Oct 26, 2013
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 004
KUALA LUMPUR: ALTHOUGH civil servants will not be getting the 11/2- month bonus that they asked for, they were happy that the government had proposed in the 2014 Budget a slew of incentives for their benefit.
Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) secretary-general Loke Yim Peng said although the January RM500 bonus disbursement Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced for civil servants was below what the 1.4 million in the service had expected, employees in the lower- and middle-income brackets lauded the government's move to increase the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) financial assistance to households with a monthly income of below RM3,000 to RM650 from RM500.
Single individuals will be given a RM300 one-off payout, up from RM250.
Najib also announced another round of the RM100 schooling aid to primary and secondary school students.
The 1Malaysia Book Voucher worth RM250 will also be given to pre-university students, as well as those in institutions of higher learning, to help them buy books and reference materials.
"If we only look at the bonus, it is below what we had expected, but considering the perks allocated for the lower- and middle-income groups in the budget, it will add up to more than what we requested for in bonus," Loke said, adding that civil servants should have a positive outlook of the overall budget.
She also commended the government for allocating RM1.9 billion to build 123,000 affordable homes in strategic locations throughout the country.
However, she said, it would have been great if there had been an increase in housing allowance for civil servants, considering the high property prices in urban areas.
Civil servants in the federal administrative capital, Putrajaya, were happy that they were not left out in the budget.
Foreign Ministry's Assistant Secretary Mohd Idham Ahmat Zamri, 29, said he was delighted that the bonus would be paid out at the start of the year.
Idham, who has been with the public service for about four years, said the extra cash would help pay loans and buy essential household items.
The father of one said a portion of the bonus would go to his 2-year-old daughter's education fund.
"It is double joy for my family as my wife is also a civil servant," said Idham, whose wife, Siti Nurzubaidah Noodin, 29, is attached to the Public Service Department.
Any extras, he said, would also allow his family to go on a local holiday.
For Fire and Rescue Department officer Azirul Zakaria, 28, the half month's bonus would help with his family's expenses.
"For anyone who has school going children, the bonus will help to lighten the burden in preparations for a new school session."
Malaysian Trades Union Congress president Mohd Khalid Atan welcomed the RM250 special allowance that would be paid out to pensioners in January.
On the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), he said the government must get feedback from the lower-income group before its 2015 deadline to prevent traders from taking advantage of the tax at their expense.
The Malaysian Employers Federation was thankful that the government took into account many of its proposals and recommendations.
In a statement, its council member Tan Sri Mohd Noor Ismail lauded the government's effort in promoting flexible working arrangements.