PSD transfers: Ismail denies political interference

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 – The new Chief Secretary to the Government Ismail Bakar has been busy transferring out seven senior officers of director and deputy director rank out of the Public Service Department (PSD) just two weeks after coming into office.

Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar, Chief Secretary to Government

He has however, denied that the transfers were related to complaints from the new Pakatan Harapan government that there were elements of sabotage within the PSD when it came to the appointments of officers recommended by ministers and deputy ministers in the various ministries.

Members of the new Cabinet had related their grouses to the media that there has been a delay in the approval of the new political appointees.

The issue also reached a peak when Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad declared that some civil servants were still loyal to the previous Barisan Nasional government and this was the reason for the delay, alleging it was tantamount to “sabotage”.

Working too long in PSD

Ismail, who took over from Tan Sri Ali Hamsa from August 29, denied the one director and six deputy directors were transferred over the issue, The Malaysian Insight reported.

“All seven senior officers were transferred as they had been working too long in PSD.

“Some of them may be related to the delay but not all of them. We are looking at it on a case by case basis.

“This is normal procedure. They have been in the PSD for too long. We need to give them some experience in different departments,” he was quoted as saying by the news portal.

Sent on courses before transfer

TMI reported a source as saying that the seven were sent away on courses before being transferred out.

“Last week they already had orders to go out from PSD, a director and six deputy directors,” the source told TMI.

The question now arises if Ismail is going against the same thing that had tainted the previous administration of the civil service under Ali Hamsa, that is bowing to political interference.

After all, he had vowed to clean up the service and keep it neutral from politics.

“The PH manifesto said they will free the civil service from political influence.

“The officers were sent on courses but then were transferred to another department. Is it supposed to be a signal to other government officers,” the source was quoted as saying.

Delayed salaries

It was also reported by TMI that several ministerial officers had complained that the Public Service Commission (PSC) was sabotaging them by placing them in lower grades and delaying their salaries.

Their complaints included how their salaries did not reflect their working experience.

They accused the PSC of going against the prime minister, who had signed their consent letters.

It was reported last month that most, if not all, the contract staff under the new PH government had yet to receive their contracts and salaries.