KUCHING, Sept 28 — Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said today that the state government is studying the possibility of using a much better way to replace the pension system for the state civil servants upon their retirement from the service.
“There is a way to do it. I will discuss it with the state civil service. I also sympathise with the civil servants who have done good jobs,” he said at the town hall session with state civil servants here.
He said the problem of the state civil service lies with the Pension Division of the federal Public Service Department.
He added the Pension Division is the one that pays the pensions of the retired state civil servants, not the state government.
“If they say the amount of pension is too much, then they will not approve it. That is why we are in a dilemma,” he said.
“If we want to create posts, the first thing we must do is to get the approval from the Pension Division.
“We cannot just create any post as we like,” he added.
The premier stressed he dares say in front of the civil servants that their salaries are not satisfactory
He said he is not making a promise to them, but his aspiration because the creation of posts in the state civil service depends on the federal PSD.
“I have found a way, only that I want you all to pray. That is why we must have financial independence.
“I ask myself if Singapore can, there is no reason why Sarawak cannot do the same,” he said.
He said civil servants will be tempted to commit corruption if their salaries are low.
“Why the Singapore civil service have zero corruption? They have big salaries,” he added.
He said opting out of the pension system does not mean he wants to separate the state civil service with the federal civil service.
“But we have to find ways and means. If we have the money, only then can we move forward.
“If we don’t have the money, there is no point talking about it. That is why we in the state Cabinet are working hard to look for money. It will be shared with the state civil service,” he said.
The premier said he is sincere in helping the state civil servants.
“I work hard. We must be there and we are the only ones able to solve Sarawak’s problems,” he said.
“If we cannot use the pension system, then we may opt out of it,” he said.
He also said he wants a strong teamwork between the state cabinet and the civil service, saying: “After all, we are on the same alignment.”