Private sector employees urged to donate to Covid-19 fund

PETALING JAYA: Private sector employees have been urged to emulate civil servants by also donating to the National Disaster Relief Fund for Covid-19.

Civil servants have won praise for agreeing to the initiative announced by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali on Tuesday.

Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute Centre of Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam (pix) described it as a noble gesture by civil servants, and proposed that private sector employees do the same.

Ramon, a former civil servant himself, told theSun that with contributions from the private sector, the fund will be larger and have a more significant impact.

Ramon also stressed the need for the management of all Covid-19 expenditure be done with full transparency and accountability.

He said the initiative could be reviewed after three months to see if it can be extended further.

“Civil servants should see this gesture as a sacrifice for the nation, to show solidarity with and support for those who are undergoing serious problems in the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ramon said.

He also stressed that consultations with stakeholders must also be done, especially on the payment formula not just to prevent unpleasant issues later, but also to win over the civil servants.

According to Mohd Zuki, about 800,000 civil servants will have a fixed sum of money deducted from their monthly allowances over the next three months to be used in financing the country’s Covid-19 campaign.

Those in Grade A will see half of their allowances go to the fund while those in Grades B and C will donate 20% and 10% of their allowances respectively. Civil servants from Grades 44 to 56 will donate 5% of their allowances and those from Grades 29 to 41 will donate RM10 each a month. Civil servants from Grades 1 to 28 are exempted.

The total contribution under this initiative is expected to reach RM30 million.

The initiative was first proposed in February by former Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Azman Ujang in his weekly column, Off the Cuff, in theSun.

Support for the proposal grew as more personalities, such as Malaysian Association of Accredited Fraud Examiners president Datuk Seri Akhbar Satar, economist Dr Barjoyai Bardai of University Tun Abdul Razak, and former Public Service Department director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam, gave the thumbs up.

Barjoyai pointed out that there is no risk of civil servants losing employment given that they have the most stable jobs and their income is guaranteed by the government.

He said the effort will also be a great symbol of harmony.

Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services president Adnan Mat told theSun that the proposal caught his attention when it was first put forward but he felt then that it was premature, given that the outbreak was not as severe.

“I conceded it was a good idea but at the time, civil servants were not ready to contribute yet.

“We were taken by surprise. Furthermore, civil servants are very sensitive about issues such as pay cuts but they are now more than ready to contribute,” he added.

Adnan also expressed hope that others would refrain from turning the initiative into a controversial issue.

Political leaders have also stepped up.

On Monday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that all ministers and deputy minister will contribute their salaries to the fund from June to August.

The announcement came on the heels of a petition urging the prime minister to take the initiative by reducing their allowances.