Malaysia

Be transparent about staff salaries, DAP tells Pemandu

BY LOOI SUE-CHERN
October 31, 2013

Government agency Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) should be transparent about how much it pays its staff and whether they hold directorships in other government-linked bodies or private agencies, a DAP lawmaker said today.

Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming (pic), in making the call, said Pemandu chief executive officer Datuk Idris Jala should reveal the pay structure of the unit's contract staff and its directors, including the amount of bonuses and allowances they were receiving.

These details are of public interest because directors of National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) were influential in shaping the policy landscape in these areas, and conflicts of interest might arise if they held other directorships in the public and private sectors, he said.

Ong said the figures were even more necessary given that Idris had reportedly said the large increase in allocation to RM16.45 billion for the Prime Minister's Department in Budget 2014 was "justified".

"I also call upon Idris to disclose whether any other director in Pemandu, prior and current, are also directors in other government agencies, government-linked companies (GLCs), public-listed companies or private companies,” he said in a statement.

"It is in the interest of the public to know if there are possible conflicts of interest which may arise as a result of holding multiple directorships in both the public as well as the private sector." Ong was responding to a comment in the online news portal Malaysiakini yesterday by Pemandu senior analyst Goh Wei Liang who tried to justify the high wages paid to the unit's directors.

Goh had estimated that the monthly take-home pay of a JUSA A civil servant, who is equivalent to a Pemandu director, was RM29,631.53, comprising RM17,331.46 (salary), RM4,000 (entertainment allowance), RM2,000 (housing allowance), RM2,500 (fixed allowance), RM2,500 (board member meeting allowance), RM2,916.67 (board member fixed annual allowance), and RM1,250 (higher management special incentive), among others.

Ong, who had earlier this week exposed that Putrajaya paid higher wages to directors and contract staff in various federal government agencies compared with civil servants including the chief secretary to the government, said Goh also implied that Pemandu directors were underpaid, even with a monthly salary of RM40,000.

"A Pemandu director's take-home pay is RM30,572.92 after taxes, compared with a JUSA A officer’s take-home pay of RM29,631.53, who does not have the job security and lifetime pension of a civil servant or gratuity, first class return tickets from KL to London or paid holidays.

"Goh assumes that Pemandu directors do not hold other positions elsewhere including as directors at GLCs and other government agencies. This is untrue," he said.

Ong said the current Felda Global Ventures (FGV) group president and CEO Mohamad Emir Mavani Abdullah was also a Pemandu director in charge of the Financial Services and Oil & Gas NKEAs in 2012 and had also been listed as CEO of the Malaysia Petroleum Resource Corporation (MPRC) in the Prime Minister’s Department and a board member of the Malaysian Nuclear Power Corporation.

He said Mohamed Emir was also a director in seven companies – Mega-Wan International Sdn Bhd, Sterling Advisory Services Sdn Bhd, Sanjung Impian Sdn Bhd, QPIC-Botree Technologies Sdn Bhd, EIM Systems Sdn Bhd, E&H Consulting Sdn Bhd and FAHC.

"Mohamed Emir also received 150,000 shares of FGV during the listing process. I presume he would have received a salary as CEO of MPRC as well as director’s fees as a director in the Malaysian Nuclear Power Corporation and in FGV before it was listed, as well as from the seven other companies,” Ong said.

"It seems that Pemandu directors, unlike civil servants, can sit on boards of private companies. This would have taken his monthly and annual salary way above the RM40,000 monthly salary that a top Pemandu director is paid." On Goh’s recommendation that the chief secretary revise remuneration packages to be productivity and result driven and to downsize the civil service by maintaining efficient and productive staff, Ong said Idris should explain if he agreed with the suggestions.

"Is this one of the strategies under the Public Finance Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRIs) to reduce the government budget deficit?" he asked.

On Tuesday, Ong urged Putrajaya to cut down on spending by not creating new agencies, especially those whose functions overlap with existing government bodies and which hire high-salaried contract staff and directors.

He revealed that the agencies' CEOs were paid monthly salaries that were higher than the monthly salary of the highest paid civil servant, the Chief Secretary, whose maximum monthly salary is RM23,577.

He quoted a parliamentary reply on October 1 detailing salary, allowance and bonus of Agensi Inovasi Malaysia's CEO, which amount to RM830,500 annually, an average of RM69,000 monthly.

He said the Land Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive officer makes a yearly salary of RM480,000 (RM40,000 a month), an annual allowance of RM162,000 and a bonus of RM60,000, totalling RM622,000, while TalentCorp's CEO earns a monthly salary of RM30,000, in addition to a monthly car allowance of RM5,000, which works out to an annual income of RM420,000. – October 31, 2013.