KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Tan Sri Abu Bakar Abdullah has confirmed he lost his job as director-general of the Public Service Department (PSD) as of today, which sources say is related to Putrajaya’s aborted new pay scheme for civil servants.
Despite the government’s move to extend the civil service retirement age to 60, the 57-year-old senior civil servant of 35 years said he was “saddened” to find out about the termination only through an official letter.
“I received a letter informing me of the termination of my service. I think that is enough for me to say right now,” he was quoted by Berita Harian (BH) Ahad as saying.
The Malay-language paper is the revamped weekend edition of Berita Harian. It was previously known as Berita Mingguan.
The paper reported Abu Bakar (picture) saying that he had opted to retire at 60, but the government’s unexpected decision meant that his benefits and pension would only be considered until June 30, 2012.
He has so far refused to comment on the reason for his termination, and whether it has anything to do with the PSD’s controversial Public Service Renumeration Scheme (SBPA), which was axed after protests from within the civil service.
Abu Bakar was previously tipped to be the next Chief Secretary to the Government, but Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa has since taken over.
Abu Bakar, whose department was blamed for disparate pay rises for civil servants early this year, was widely expected to leave government service.
His termination comes amid a on-going debate over the civil service’s impartiality, after newly-minted chief secretary Ali raised eyebrows when he told his new charges that they “should know better” than to believe the “empty promises” made by the opposition.
The 1.4-million-strong public sector has been a traditional vote bank for BN but the controversy over a new pay scheme and attacks on the ruling parties by PR over bread-and-butter issues may offer the federal opposition a glimmer of hope in the coming polls. But recent days have seen top government officials go on an apparent overdrive to protect the BN government they serve.
Apart from Ali’s message to the civil service, Foreign Ministry undersecretary Ahmad Rozian Abdul Ghani recently attacked a Canadian newspaper for describing Datuk Seri Najib Razak as a “false democrat,” and insisted that the prime minister had “an impressive track record by anyone’s standards”.
A director at Putrajaya’s efficiency unit, Pemandu, also made a public attack on PR on Wednesday for not improving the states it governs and focusing on sniping and criticising the federal government’s efforts.