Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (centre) and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa (second from left) arriving at the premier gathering of the civil service (Mappa) held at Putrajaya International Convention Centre today. Pix by Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor

PUTRAJAYA: The fate of the public service sector is uncertain under the leadership of the opposition.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this was because the opposition had labelled civil servants as incompetent and 'makan gaji buta’ (being paid without doing any work).

"There are also opposition leaders who have insulted civil servants by calling them 'kucing kurap ( people of no significance).

"Can you all imagine how majority of you all will fare if we allow the opposition to take over.

"Do you dare to gamble your children and grandchildren's future in their hands?," he asked more than 5,000 civil servants who had gathered at the premier gathering of the civil service (Mappa) today.

Also present were Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa and Cabinet ministers.

In this respect, Najib urged civil servants should not allow the opposition to take over the administration as they do not appreciate and had undermined the government workers' contributions.

Unlike the current government, the prime minister said the public servants were highly regarded for what they had contributed.

Najib said the government had undertaken various initiatives for those in the public sector including raising the workers' salary between seven and 13 per cent in 2012.

The government had also raised the minimum pension from RM720 to RM820 for those who had served for 25 years and above on Jan 1, 2012, he added.

Aside from improvements being made to salary structure and services, Najib said the government had also improved the welfare aspect of the public servants.

The prime minister listed several initiatives including the launch of 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing Project (PPA1M) and raise the cost of living allowance (COLA) by RM50 a month in 2012 for public servants residing at the city outskirts.

"What is important here, all the facilities and incentives enjoyed by the public servants are due to the strong relationship between the government and the public services that are competent and efficient," he said.

Najib added this would allow a symbiosis to be created, allowing Malaysia to leapfrog and be listed as the top 20 nations.

He also said it was unfair to claim Malaysia had a bloated civil service by comparing to other countries.

"With such arrogance, the critics have stated that they will reduce the public sector's manpower to half.

"It is unfair for them to say as such because some of these countries do not include those in the healthcare and security sectors part of their head counts."

For those who criticised the civil servants to be incompetent, the prime minister rubbished such accusations too by highlighting the improved services rendered to the people.

He cited the urban transformation centre and the rural transformation centre initiative which had become a game changer in the public sector.

"Even the World Bank has acknowledged it as the world's best public service model because it helps the government save RM2 billion in expenditure."

Najib also took a swipe at those who had labelled Malaysia as a failed state that would belly up with its sovereignty being sold to foreign powers such as to China, India, Saudi Arabia and the latest to the United States.

"If it is true that Malaysia is a failed state, how come the facts are showing otherwise."

The prime minister listed several instances including Forbes international magazine has placed Malaysia at the top in the Asian region for foreign investment and Bank Negara's international reserve getting stronger from about RM60 billion during the Asian crisis 1997/1998 to RM431.7 billion nowadays.

"If Malaysia is a failed state, how can International Living magazine had chosen us to be the best retirement destination in 2017? "

Najib also highlighted his recent visit to the US where President Donald Trump had praised Malaysia for its firm stand against terrorism and recognised the country to be a key player in the South East Asia region and the world.