Ketua Pembangkang and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, today (16.9.1976) issued the following statement:
Government should immediately release to the public the original and revised reports of the Ibrahim Ali Salaries Commission to establish its credibility and good faith
The CUEPACS Council has confirmed Oct. 19 as the date for the strike by the public service unions and their members if the Government delayed the implementation of the Ibrahim Ali Report.
For the last few weeks, there had been a prolonged war of words between the Government and the CUEPACS, with UMNO Youth later entering the picture to beat the war drums for the government.
What is very disturbing is that there are conflicting versions of what is reported, recommended and the cost-implications, of the Ibrahim Ali Salaries Commission Reports.
Thus, the government claims that the Ibrahim Ali revised report would cost the government an additional burden of $500 million a year. This claim has been contested by CUEPACS, which claimed that the additional salary increase for 500000 civil servants is $373 million, which is publicly backed by Tan Sri Ali Ibrahim Ali himself. In the absence of public release of the Ibrahim Ali revised report, one must accept what Tan Sri Ibrahim Ali has confirmed.
Again, an un-named government spokesmen had said that the original Ibrahim Ali report very wide differences in the proposed salary increases between the top and bottom rungs, and cited as an example., that the original Ibrahim Ali report recommended increase for the top civil servants went as high as $4000, while at the bottom it was $5.
Tan Sri Ibrahim Ali has publicly denied this, although he said he was unable to give the actual figures recommended in the original report as it had not been released by the government.
In the absence of the original report, one must again accept Tan Sri Ibrahim Ali’s denial.
The Government must bear responsibility for the present souring up of industrial relations on the part of the public service employees. The government had resorted to delaying tactics to deny public service employees their legitimate claims for salary revisions and destroyed its credibility.
The government should establish its credibility and good faith, by first of all, releasing for public study, both the original and revised Ibrahim Ali reports, so that the public can see for the themselves the actual reports, recommendations and cost-implications.
The government should also stop hiding behind un-named spokesman, but give a comprehensive briefing to the Malaysian nation as to the recommendations and implications of the revised Ibrahim Ali Report – and at least, clear up the conflicting accounts about the total cost-implication, whether $500million or $373 million: and the recommendations to close the disparity gap between those on top in the service and those at the bottom.
If Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir can brief the UMO Youth, then he has a higher duty to brief the Malaysian people.
What is highly deplorable and the nation can do without is the cheap political emotionalism that has been injected into the CUEPACS claim.
Not a day passes in the past fortnight without the UMNO Youth and Tan Sri Albar making emotional statements, which does not help the clarify the picture.
Thus, it is often asserted that the CUEPACS should not press its claim at this time when the country is facing the communist challenge, implying that those who do so are anti-national. If this argument is taken to its logical perversity and absurdity, it means that at this time, Malaysians must not press for the rectification of social, economic and political injustice and inequality, or they would be accused as aiding and abetting the communists. If this is the thinking in high government circles, then there is no surer way to creating the conditions in which the communist challenge would intensify!
Again, in a fit of political emotionalism, it is said that how can the CUEPACS demand for $500 million when the peasant and fisherman cannot eke out $2 or $3 a day. Such political emotionalism is full of fallacies. The $500 million figure is not accepted. Secondly, how can one compare 500000 civil servants, or 3 million Malaysians if we include their dependants, with one peasant or fisherman? This is how some politicians lie with figures, by using statistics which just cannot be compared with each other. Such statistic lies will generate political emotionalism, but not understanding.
The government has delayed too many times the proper revision of salaries for civil servants, especially those in the lower salary brackets, and o questions such as housing and pensions.
It is difficult to make civil servants accept the government’s argument for delay, when civil servants see that top political leaders had waxed rich and affluent without check, and often by unscrupulous and corrupt means.
What is also involved in the Ibrahim Ali report dispute here is the morality of a political system which allow a small group of political system which allow small group of political elites in the ruling government to acquire riches at public expenses, while the majority of the workers are required to tighten their belts and continue to make sacrifices.
The government should therefore first establish its credibility and good faith, to the public service employees and to the Malaysian public.