Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Is 9MP going to offer only "water & grass" to low-rank govt servants?

Today's headline news in the Star is mind-boggling.

It mentioned that the poverty line in Klang Valley is RM1,500.

Lans Korporal Mohd Izwan Abdullah, 34, who has served the police force for 10 years and diligently upgraded his qualifications by studying part-time and obtaining a degree in HRD from UPM is currently being paid RM1,050 per month.

Detective L/Kpl K. Ganesh, 40, who has a law degree from London and currently serving in the Selangor Commercial Crime Division earns about the same amount.

According to the IGP, 20% of his lower-rank men are diploma and degree holders and yet some of them even earn as little as RM650!

I wonder if L/Kpl Mohd Izwan and L/Kpl K. Ganesh are married with wife & kids? And what about those who are currently earning less than RM1,000 per month? Are they all bachelors? Or do their families survive mostly on a good helping of polluted air, tap water and grass? Where do they live? Do they have to pay rent? Do they have any form of personal transport like motorbikes or cars? How do they upkeep their vehicles? How much do they need to pay for basic utilities like electricity, water, gas, school supplies and attire for their kids? What is left at the end of the month to feed the family? What is left at all to save for a rainy day?

An 18-year old receptionist clerk with a basic SPM qualification and no experience is paid RM800 starting pay in a private engineering firm in Serdang working 5 days a week. By the time she is 20, and with the 2 years experience she had, she can easily ask for RM1,000 starting salary in any private company around Klang valley. If she continues working, we can safely assume that she can earn no less than RM1,200 per month with 7 years of working experience by age 25. If she takes the initiative to upgrade herself with diploma in secretarial studies or some other relevant courses, her salary scale can even go up to above RM2,000 per month.

This is not fictional. This is a real-life example of someone I personally know of. She is currently contented in her job, in air-conditioned comfort and working 8:30am to 5:30pm from Monday to Friday with 2 days off on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy with her family. And yet, she is struggling to meet with the high cost of living in Klang valley. She had to pay her babysitter RM350 a month, her older son's kindergarten fees of RM200 a month, loan repayment on her Kancil, rental on her apartment and other unavoidable expenses. She is lucky that her husband is also gainfully employed as a technician at about the same wages as her. According to her, they are barely managing on their joint take-home pay of about RM2,000.

If the example above shows that even families earning RM2,000 are struggling to live a comfortable life, what more of those who are earning much less than that?

As the Chinese saying goes, do they fill their stomachs with "water and cow-grass"?

The next time our government wants to approve increases in basic utility charges like electricity, water and gas, please consider these group of people.

The next time our government allow petrol prices to go up again, please also consider them. For those who do regular marketing for food and household items, they already know that the same basket of items cost at least 10% more today than what it did same time last year.

Do they not understand the logic that with prices going steadily up over the years, the cost of living has gone beyond what some of our government servants are earning in order to survive above the poverty line?

Until our government develops compassion for this low-income group, we will continue to see various social ills arising out of this conundrum.

For the oppressed will fail to understand how with all the country's riches and grandiose policies formulated at Federal level, it has not made an iota of difference to their lives. They continue to plod on, "kais pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang" while their favoured brethren continue to live the good life, unashamed to flout their excesses and privileged positions.

So, please don't talk cock about marginalised Malays in Penang. Go and take a look at some of the poor Malays living in Kelantan, Terengganu and Selangor Maju. Go and take a look at how our government had marginalised our low-ranking police personnel, teachers and other government servants.

And then, tell us how the 9MP can eliminate some of their sufferings.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Kenny Ng said...

Very interesting topic and I was waiting someone to raise this issue for so long. Yes, I totally agree with ur opinion. I'm in a low-rank govt servant too and I'm having same difficultly. I'm a technical asst. (asst. engineer in private sector term), but my income is almost similar as technician level. But for engineer level the salary is much different. I already finish my part time degree and now waiting for the engineer post, if after a year still can't get it I'll definately leave govt job and join private sector which can pay me more than double of my current salary.
I did the 9MP budget before for my department and I can see very clear, 9MP is worst than 8MP. I'm here not only saying for low-rank govt servants, but is for everyone.

19/9/06 15:19  
Blogger Maverick SM said...

I agree with you, but with reservation.

I had a friend who is a police detective and had a law degree. I asked him why can't he resign and join a law firm of which he can earned higher salary. His frank answer: Power... and power can do more than what an ordinary employee earns [period].

Have you seen inspectors whose salary is $1,000-$2,000 driving Honda Accord worth $180,000; living in semi-D and have 2-3 wifes? Quite many.

Go and do a survey and find out the constables livelihood...you may be surprised or you could have anticipated.

Again I repeat; those with higher qualification could have sought better career opportunities in the corporate world; they chose not to, for reasons esoteric.

19/9/06 20:36  
Blogger Helen said...

Yes, it's mind boggling but I guess working with the garmen has its perks. How else can you explain why being on the payroll of Putrajaya is every school leaver (of certain race) wishlist? Especially those in the SPM and STPM level.

I asked a lady clerk once when she quit her higher paying private sector job to join Putra jaya.. The answer? "Kurang stress"

19/9/06 21:09  
Blogger H J Angus said...

The low salary mentioned is only one aspect.

I think some of them get police quarters with free(?) water and electricity.

The cost of government servants from be studied from a holistic approach not just based on basic salary.

One item that adds much to government cost is pensions and some extend the costs of paying pensions when they marry much younger second and third and fourth wives that result in a young widow that can draw the pension for many years if she does not remarry.

It would be good if the IGP also mentions the steps being taken to implement the IPCMC.

19/9/06 22:29  
Blogger Wormie said...

I find the pay ridiculous. With such low pay, how do they support themselves and their families? No wonder, kopi money is rampant.

Taken together with teachers who do not give their best when teaching in school, only to hold back for their tuition class, something is very wrong.

20/9/06 12:44  
Blogger PabloPabla said...

I think we need to differentiate the various issues that can crop up here. On the issue of whether the police (or civil servants) are being paid too lowly (starting pay and salary scale in general), I think they are. It is high time to review their salaries. Whether they perform or not is another issue altogether. Whilst there are the dishonest civil servants around, I am sure there is at least one honest and hardworking civil servant who deserves to be paid reasonably according to current standards. We are already in the year 2006.

20/9/06 12:46  

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