KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — Putrajaya has frozen hiring of civil servants in the past, former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan said today.
When asked if Putrajaya's recent hiring freeze for 15 government agencies was due to overstaffing in civil service, Mohd Sidek said questions should be directed to his successor Tan Sri Ali Hamsa.
"You have to ask the current KSN. I'm sure they have the reason for it, which I'm not privy to," he told reporters here when door-stopped after the launching of the "30% Club".
He confirmed that the federal government had in the past frozen hiring, saying: "There were, when there is a need, we'll have to do it."
But when probed about the reasons for past hiring freezes during his term, Mohd Sidek declined to answer and walked off.
On Tuesday, Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman Tan Sri Mahmood Adam told Sin Chew Daily that the government was no longer recruiting for any positions effective April, but declined to explain the rationale for the decision.
Mahmood told the Chinese-language newspaper that 15 agencies, including the police, army and the Education ministry, have already received notice of the freeze.
He said agencies that required emergency replacements could still apply to do so via the PSD and said the moratorium does not affect recruitment for vacancies that were advertised prior to the April 22 directive.
His remarks confirm a report by whistleblower website Sarawak Report across the weekend that said Putrajaya was no longer hiring, based on a leaked copy of the memorandum from the PSC.
Malaysia has one of the highest public workers to population ratios in the world and its civil service force currently costs some RM60 billion in wages annually, accounting for a third of total government spending.
Putrajaya was forced to reduce its operating budget for 2015 owing to a sharp drop in oil prices since last year.
Yesterday, the Congress of Unions of Employees in Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) told Malay Mail Online that Putrajaya must reverse its decision to freeze hiring for the public sector as this would prevent Malaysian youths from getting jobs.
The umbrella body representing over 800,000 workers in the public sector nationwide said it would not make sense to say Putrajaya cannot afford to hire more people, noting that many positions go vacant each year from the retirement and deaths of civil servants.