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27 November 2015

IT'S EXIT' FOR SLACKING CIVIL SERVANTS

NST
27/11/2015


KUALA LUMPUR: CIVIL servants will be subjected to a new assessment policy from January that could see them removed from the service if they underperform or are medically unfit. The “Exit Policy For Poor Performers”, partly to remove overlapping functions in the service sector, will cover 1.6 million civil servants, including top-ranking executives and those serving in the teaching and security sectors. 

 The New Straits Times has learnt that Public Service Department (PSD) director-general Tan Sri Mohamad Zabidi Zainal and the department’s director of services Datuk Mohtar Mohd Abdul Rahman had been hitting the ground the last few weeks, briefing civil servants on the policy at their headquarters and offices nationwide. The PSD has also published on their website a circular on the policy, explaining how it works. Under the policy, those who score below 60 per cent will be put on probation for a year. “The spirit behind the policy is clear. It is about bringing excellence into the service. Simply put, for those who slack and simply don’t buck up, they will be retired from the service,” said a senior civil servant who attended one of the briefings by Zabidi. 

 He described the session as a no-holds-barred session, where Zabidi warned civil servants who had ignored warnings issued to them before. This, he said, included the habit of going for long coffee breaks and absenteeism. Under the new system, civil servants will be evaluated by a panel — the Exit Policy Evaluation Panel. For starters, it will haul up employees who had recorded a Key Performance Index of below 60 per cent in their 2015 appraisal. They will then be called in to defend their case. If they fail to justify their poor performance, they will be put through a year-long probation, and if there is no improvement, they will be retired. If improvement is noted in their assessment, they can continue working in the service. 

 However, they will remain under the microscope for the three subsequent years, and must ensure their KPI is above 60 per cent. PSD had assured that there would be a foolproof check and balance system to ensure that no employee in the sector would be unfairly appraised. If health issues are blamed, the staff will have to undergo an evaluation process, and if found to be fit for work, they will be put through the same assessment process as other poor performers. If found to be unfit for employment, they could be retired. 

The Exit Policy for those in top management is less forgiving. There will be no one-year probationary period for them. If they scored below 60 per cent in their 2015 appraisal, they will be, by January, referred to the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Panel. Those sitting on the panel include the Chief Secretary to the Government, who chairs it, the PSD chief, the Auditor General and the Treasury’s secretary-general. If the consensus is to retire the officer, his case will be referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for endorsement. Zabidi had assured those who attended the briefing that the multi-level assessment system would be a fair one. 

This, he said, was because there were screening systems and that those carrying out the assessments would also comprise external parties, including officers from the PSD and representatives of the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs). Zabidi, following the 2016 Budget announcement, hinted the introduction of the policy, saying it was critical in bringing about an efficient and lean civil service. The move, he had said, was to instil integrity among government servants as well as increase reputability.


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