End Outrageous “Double Dipping” By Top Malaysian Civil Servants and GLC Executives


June 4, 2018

End Outrageous “Double Dipping” By Top Malaysian Civil Servants and GLC Executives

by Dr. M. Bakri Musa, Morgan-Hill, California

The revelation by Transport Minister Anthony Loke that the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) Chairman Abdullah Ahmad earns about RM85K a month, while a shocker, is not a secret. It is a long-held practice, and he is not alone. Far from it!

This practice proliferated under Najib, one of the many manifestations of his cash-is-king schemes to buy the loyalty of senior public officials. He of course received much more in return through their loyalty and cooperation, as evidenced by the loot hauled from his private residences after he was booted out of office.

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 Chief Secretary to the Malaysian Government, Dr. Ali Hamsa

Prime Minister Mahathir, who earns less than a quarter of what that Mavcom Chairman gets, has ordered Chief Secretary Ali Hamsa to review the remunerations of top public officials as well as heads of GLCs and statutory bodies.

There is no need for such a review. Instead, Mahathir should just ban them from having extra income beyond their salaries. They are being paid to devote their time and effort exclusively to their current positions. Theirs is not a 9-5 job; they have no business assuming added responsibilities except in an ex officio capacity. For that they already have generous allowances to cover the expenses incurred, as with traveling and lodging.

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Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) Chairman Abdullah Ahmad–The RM85,000 (per month) Man

Ali Hamsa is also the wrong person to undertake such an important review. Foremost is the issue of conflict of interest. He is as guilty as that Mavcom Chairman. Hamsa should begin by declaring how much extra compensation he was paid in addition to his regular salary as Chief Secretary by virtue of appointing himself to be on the various boards. The recently-disgraced Treasury Secretary Irwan Serigar was on Khazanah’s and Bank Negara’s Boards, as well as others not yet revealed. He must have raked in substantial additional income from director’s fees.

Ali Hamsa, Irwan Serigar, Abdullah Ahmad and countless others are guilty of double dipping into the public purse. The poor rakyat bears the burden of such rampant lucrative practices.

Ali Hamsa is also ill-qualified to undertake such a review. He has spent all his career in the civil service. He knows nothing of the culture or value of talent in the competitive private sector. He has been receiving not giving out paychecks all his life; he has no appreciation of the challenges in having to meet a payroll

Scrutinize the corporate structures of many GLCs and statutory bodies. They have myriads of subsidiaries and associated companies. The reason is simple – management greed; more corporate entities, more board of director’s positions! Ever wonder why those GLCs and statutory bodies lose money.

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The High Flying and Publicity Seeking Former Secretary-General to the Treasury, Irwan Serigar Abdullah, now in cold storage at Intan

If companies like Petronas need outside directors, the Professor of Petroleum Engineering from the University of Malaya would be a far superior choice than a recently retired Chief Secretary to the government. All the latter would do is graft the stultifying civil service culture onto the company.

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Tabung Haji Chairman Abdul Azeez Rahim with a Phd from Preston University who was a used car salesman

Appointing that professor as director would also be a way to augment his otherwise meager academic pay. That might just be the inducement for him to stay on campus instead of joining the private sector, to the loss of his students who would be the country’s future petroleum engineers. The professor would also gain real world experience, again to the benefit of his students. Likewise with Tabung Haji. Why not appoint the local Professor of Economics or Accounting to its board? That would be far superior than having that mamak with a PhD or MBA from Preston University!

 

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 Isa Samad–Former FELDA Chairman and Head of SPAD

 

Another common and lucrative double-dipping scheme occurs when retired civil servants or former public officials are appointed to statutory bodies or GLCs. The number one culprit in the news today is Isa Samad. He is notorious for other reasons. For this discussion, while he is drawing a substantial pay as the head of SPAD (the Malay initials for the federal public transportation agency), he is still getting his pension as a former MP and a Federal Minister, as well as that of a State (Negri Sembilan) Chief Minister, and as a state legislator (ADUN). Beyond that he is also getting one for being the former head of FELDA. These entities may have different names but their paymaster is the same – the rakyat.

Such “double dipping” should be banned. If a retired civil servant or public official is appointed to a GLC or statutory body and he is getting a regular salary, then he should not be allowed to draw on the pension of his previous job. Instead he should be considered as continuing to work for the same paymaster but in a different capacity. Of course if he were to start his own business or be employed by a private company, that would be a different matter. In that case he should be entitled to the government pension of his old job.

If such a policy were to be instituted, then all those soon-to-retire civil servants would remain busy in their jobs instead of preoccupying themselves lobbying for a post-retirement position in a GLC or statutory body.

There would two immediate positive effects of such a policy. One, those civil servants would now be less likely to be seduced by their political masters as is the current culture. They would now be more likely to be independent if not outspoken in disagreeing with their political superiors. That could only be good for the country’s administration.

The other positive effect would be to encourage more Malays (most civil servants are Malays) to enter the private sector either as employees, directors, or to create their own businesses. That would increase the rate of Malay participation in the private sector far more effectively and efficiently than starting expensive and often money-losing GLCs. They would then be more like Rafidah Aziz with Air Asia, or set up their own professional practices as Aziz Abdul Rahman, former Managing Director of Malaysia Airlines, with his own law firm.

In the 1960s Tun Razak lowered the retirement age (it was 55 then) so enterprising young civil servants could retire to start their own businesses. That initiative spawned many Malay-owned businesses. This was also the practice of the Italian government and resulted in the blossoming of entrepreneurial activities spurred by young retired civil servants who had the safety net of their retirement income.

This double dipping by senior civil servants and public officials costs the nation a hefty bundle. With Malaysia’s debt now exceeding a trillion ringgit, the nation can ill afford such outrageous wastage. Time to ban double dipping outright. There is no need for further unnecessary studies.

3 thoughts on “End Outrageous “Double Dipping” By Top Malaysian Civil Servants and GLC Executives

  1. It may not be double dipping but MULTIPLE DIPPING. Some retired/defeated politicians may receive multiple pensions as they may have held several posts. It was reported that one former DPM received 11 pensions as he was ADUN-MB-MP-MINISTER-DPM-etc. Some MPs/civil service officers-judges-attgen-audgen-police-defence-other retirees appointed as Directors to GLCs or other PLCs or Subsidiaries or other Agencies or Institutions all collected high Directors’ Fees plus Allownces plus Perks the sum total could be in millions of RM annually which sum could make their last drawn salaries as ‘peanuts’.
    Meeting allowances could be from RM500.00 to over RM3K even if the meeting were to be just a few minutes.
    All are said to be approved but those approving them may be part of the system.
    Internal or Statutory Auditors may have no say whereas those appointed to prevent such cases of Perceived abuse may be in collusion.
    May be media should list and highlight the REMUNERATION of all such appointees with details of multiple appointments and received empluments.
    In one fin inst the Chairman was paid RM28M in 2017 RM42M in 2015 and similar high sum in 2016. Thhis was in addition to Directors Fees and approved by shareholders at AGM but under the E-POLL VOTING SYSTEM 50% less1 share of equity paricipants ma have had no value as 50%+1 share owners having majority will approve.

  2. The Mavcom case was not ‘double dipping’ per se – but outright salary.
    Not all the directorships or chairmanships of government stat bodies pay well.
    Most of the time, the directors just get a monthly salary of RM 2k per month and an additional RM 500-1,000 for each board meeting which can happen monthly or less.
    The scale is of course, exponentially increased in GLCs’.
    It’s the CEOs’ of certain stat agencies like Pemandu, InvestKL (including some of the managers) and Matrade etc who earn megabucks – because apparently they were under ‘contract’ and ‘most efficacious’.. Bullshit ++.

  3. Thats what Jibby call high income nation where his cronies get multiple stream of income beyond the retirement pension. This in turn support the luxury car industry, luxury watch business and also the property market. Others who are not well connected have to live on their EPF or pension only.

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