Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pakatan Will Not Retrench or Sack Civil Servants, Anwar Slams Umno News Reports

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has confirmed that Pakatan Rakyat would not be slashing the civil service, refuting the Umno-controlled newspapers which have been front-paging comments they alleged were made by DAP’s Tony expressing the intention to whittle down the country’s bloated civil service.
“I have asked our leaders to correct that perception. Pakatan will not disturb the civil servants. (Due to the sensationalised news reports), this froup is worried that they might be retrenched and unemployed if Pakatan takes over the federal government. Although, it makes a lot of economic sense, when it comes to politics, it makes no sense,” Anwar told a dinner talk in Subang Jaya on Tuesday.
Anwar’s clarification came even as the Public Services Department vowed to increase the civil service, the largest in the region. The PSD statement carried in the mainstream stunned many economists and prominent citizens.
“I cannot take the PSD statement seriously. They seem to be playing to some sort of gallery. I hope the Pakatan will take a more balanced approach. What Anwar can do is of course, don’t sack anyone. But don’t replace those who retire. Put a moratorium on recruitment and slowly engineer the civil service to the right size,” Ramon Navaratnam, the former secretary-general of the Transport ministry and past president of Transparency International.
“This way, nobody is sacked or deprived of a livelihood while the nation has a concrete plan to reform an really overlarge civil service. This is something that we must acknowledge has to be done. But for PSD to rebut and try to get one up on a political rival by promising to increase the civil service is irresponsible and most incredible.”
Limit PM to 2 terms, control excessive powers
In wide-ranging speech, Anwar had also vowed to limit the Prime Minister’s tenure to two terms. Pakatan will also prohibit the prime minister from holding the post of finance minister, as this could give rise to excess power held in the hand of one man and result in massive corruption.
“I was finance minister before. A finance minister is busy from morning to night. However, our prime ministers have been holding the post of finance minister as well since 1998, because they do not trust others – maybe it involves too many projects,” he said, adding that an overstaying PM more often than not aspired to become an “Emperor”.
Asked whether a Chinese could be Prime Minister, Anwar dodged the highly sensitive issue. “If I answer ‘yes’, it would become the headline in Utusan Malaysia; if I said ‘no’, it will become headlines in the Chinese dailies. So my answer is: the current consensus of Pakatan is that Anwar will be the next prime minister,” quipped a smiling Anwar amid loud cheers from the audience.
Earlier in his speech, he had also confirmed that PKR would not support PAS as far as Islamic hudud law was concerned, saying that hudud had no place in Pakatan policy.

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