Posted By rajlira On 4th October 2007 @ 00:01 In Local
Absenteeism among civil servants due to harassment by loan sharks have gone down: Deputy SS
KUCHING: Absenteeism among civil servants due to harassment by loan sharks (Ah Long) is no longer a major headache for the State government.
Thanks to the ‘Say No To Ah Long’ campaign carried out by the State government since 2004, this has successfully kept civil servants away from the temptations of borrowing money from Ah Long who charge high interest rates.
Once a menace in the State civil service that it was even debated in the State Legislative Assembly a few years ago, the number of civil servants going to loan sharks has now dwindled.
“We have managed to nip the problem in the bud,” said Deputy State Secretary (Human Resource) Datu Abdul Ghafur Shariff at a press conference to announce the State Public Service Week at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here yesterday.
Because of the campaign which included a series of talks in major towns as well as the recent pay rise, civil servants were now more aware of the need to spend within their means and to adjust their lifestyles to their budgets accordingly, he said.
He nevertheless conceded that there were still a small number among the 20,000-strong civil servants in the State, who was still living in fear because of harassment by loan sharks, and as a result would not turn up for work.
“Together with the police and ACA (Anti-Corruption Agency), we have talked to civil servants in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri to discourage them from borrowing money from loan sharks,” he said.
“Though it (absenteeism) is under control, it is still a problem. And although (the problem) is small, we will continue to handle it to prevent it from becoming a major problem among civil servants.”
On disciplinary actions, he said only those who had been absent without leave (Awol) for too long would be relieved of their duties or sacked.
He, however, could not provide off hand the number of civil servants who had been sacked.
“So far, no one has been given the marching orders this year”.
On possible reasons why civil servants go to loan sharks, Ghafur believed that it could be due to the lure of extravagant lifestyles.
“We are living in a material world where certain people would not mind spending beyond their means,” he said, adding that as civil servants they should focus on their work so that they could give their best to the people.
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