79 Sabahans head Federal Depts
Published on: Saturday, April 20, 2019
By: Larry Ralon

Kota Kinabalu: Seventy-nine Sabahans are heading Federal departments in Sabah so far, while 56 others are from the peninsula and six from Sarawak. 

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) said the Sabahan appointments represent 56 per cent of the 141 Federal department head posts in the State. 

“The State Government is committed to ensure the rights of Sabahans are guaranteed through their appointments as heads of Federal departments and agencies in Sabah. 

“For information, 80 per cent or 86,336 positions in the Federal departments and agencies in Sabah have been filled by Sabahans as of April this year,” he said in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly sitting on Thursday. 

On the proposal by Apas Assemblyman that civil servants be entitled to Social Security Organisation (Socso) contribution, Mohd Shafie said the Government will study the implication and practicality of Socso contribution for contract and daily temporary workers (PSH) in the effort to ensure they are protected and their welfare is safeguarded. 

He said the Government will also study in detail from various perspectives including population, infrastructure, communication network and so on over the proposals for Sukau and Tungku to be created a full district.

To Kiulu Assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai who touched on the creation of Kiulu sub-district office, he said the Government is studying in detail the information and comment from various agencies involved for completing a Cabinet Paper before it is to be submitted to the State Cabinet. 

On the proposal for Membakut sub-district office to be upgraded to a full district, he said it was submitted to the State Cabinet meeting since 2013 but was not approved. Thus the proposal will be re-studied for appropriate consideration under the new government. 

As for the proposal that urban renewal be implemented and a terminal be constructed in Kota Kinabalu City, Mohd Shafie said the proposal required a comprehensive and integrated study for long and short terms for dealing with the physical obsolescence, abandonment of brownfield area (zones which have been developed but abandoned) for the implementation of the proposed urban renewal. 

Meanwhile, the state government still has 4,000 vacancies available in the civil service but these will only be filled if there is a need to do so.

According to Shafie this is in line with the cost saving measures in the civil service sector and the Sabah Government has so far filled 21,000 of the 25,000 posts offered in the state’s public service.

Shafie, who is also State Assemblyman for Senallang, said, a reshuffle in the civil service could be carried out if there are departments or units that have surplus labor and transfer them to departments requiring additional staff.

He said these efforts are necessary because the government spends close to RM1 billion on emolument expenditure for civil servants and the expenditure is among the highest in the country.

“Therefore, the management of this workforce needs to be done without the need to increase or take more civil servants because it will ultimately increase emolument spending and affect the economic situation.”

Accordingly, he said all officers should take the following steps including ensuring continuous productivity and innovation; Control the increase in posts in the civil service and ensure the size of the public service is in line with its function.

He said when replying to questions submitted by Klias Assemblyman Datuk Senin Aliasnih on the government efforts to carry out cost savings in the civil service in line with the recommendations of the federal government.

Shafie said in a challenging economic environment, manpower use should be mitigated and balanced by the use of modern technology.

In addition, current operating costs also need to be reduced through savings in the use of department transportation.

“For example, if the department has five vehicles, maybe only two cars should be used to reduce operating costs such as oil expenses, drivers and overtime pay adding that there will also be steps taken to reduce spending, salaries and staff allowances,” he said.

Shafie said the government is always practicing prudent, efficient and careful spending in financial management and state administration and this includes optimizing the State Civil Service Size Control initiative which has been implemented since 1998 in accordance with the Sabah State Ministry of Finance Circular No. 3/1998 on Freezing of Creation and Filing in the Public Service State and Statutory Bodies. 

Following the initiative, in the last five years from 2015 to this year (2019) there was a 6.48pc drop in job vacancy in various grades position. 

However the filling of job vacancies can be justified for posts that are Critical positions and those that Implement a trade off of vacancies that are no longer relevant to create more critical and strategic positions, particularly positions in Management Group and Professionals; as well as encourage innovation and automation in the delivery system efficiency public services.

Despite the reduction in the number and capacity of state civil service personnel for the period in last five years, he stressed that the strategy implementation does not affect existing civil servants.

He said the government always strives for the public service to be able to enhancing service delivery system in providing services to the people efficient, fast and quality.

Regarding the question of contract civil servants who have not been absorbed as permanent workers despite serving for years, Shafie said that today’s government policy will give priority to absorb long-serving civil servants instead of hiring new staff.

“If there is a vacancy, we will give priority to offering the job to contract personnel because we believe their experience is needed especially in technical departments,” he said. 


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