CM: We’ll source own funds

State to finance its own projects if national budget allocations insufficient

The Sarawak government will source for its own funds for development projects if the national budget to be tabled by the Prime Minister on Aug 29 is not to its expectation.

“Normally, when we cannot get from the federal (government) what we think is of importance to Sarawak, we have to think on our own what to include in our budget.

“That’s how we work,” Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud told reporters after opening a conference at Santubong near here yesterday, when asked to comment on the state government’s expectation of the budget.

He said Sarawak had its own development needs.

Taib, who is Finance Minister, said if the state’s needs were reflected in the budget and the state government viewed it as sufficient, Sarawak would not have to come up with a different structure in the state budget.

On professional and skilled workers working in outside Sarawak, he said the government could only create opportunities and enough jobs for them to return but the decision rested on the people.

“Whether these people wish to come back here or not is their decision. Some come back to work although their salaries are lower because they begin to understand that the living cost here is lower.

“It would be impractical to pay them salaries as high as the ones they received overseas because they would have to pay hefty taxes at the end of the day,” he said.

Taib believed employees’ salaries would gradually be increased when productivity was higher due to better management, equipment and working environment.

Earlier, when opening the four-day Public Service and Education Commissions national conference, Taib said the commissions, among others, must continue to exercise fair recruitment practices and ensure enough room for changes in the civil service.

He said government departments and agencies needed to be restructured one day to meet the rising challenges in the future and to ensure that development works were carried out by qualified people.

Citing an example, he said the Public Works Depart-ment (JKR) was currently being restructured to be the preferred client of the government particularly concerning development projects.

“The exercise is necessary to attract international firms to work together with the department when Malaysia achieved its developed nation status,” he added.

As such, he said the commissions had to start identifying which departments could change gradually towards that end and employ more and quality graduates.

Taib said he was glad that the Malaysian public service had been very adaptive over the years yet remain non-political and able to serve the government of the day.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Public Service Commission chairman Tan Sri Jamaluddin Ahmad Damanhuri said this year’s conference theme, ‘Public Service For All’ was in line with the commission’s efforts to have intakes that would better reflect all racial groups, the handicapped and the poor.

The commission would introduce the ‘Profiling Recruitment Model’ (PRM) to ensure an applicant is truly suitable for the job in terms of personality, psychology, aptitude and competency and not merely shortlisted through academic qualification.

PRM featured three stages namely examination, assessment and interview, he said, adding that it was still being fine tuned.

In a separate interview, state JKR state director Datu Hubert Thien said the department was being restructured with some units privatised so that it could be the consultant of choice for the government.

He said the department would gradually downsize its human resources from some 10,000 to 3,000 or 4,000 people in the next few years with some retired or absor-bed by private companies.

“Now we go for more quality and knowledgeable staff and we encourage them to go for a second degree and PhD.

“We need to be better consultants to monitor consultants,” he said.

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