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Monday, June 20, 2011

In PWD, two DGs force crisis

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — The PublicWorks Department (PWD) is in administrative crisis as it appears to have two director generals since the beginning of May, leaving people wondering on who really is in charge.

Although Datuk Mohd Noor Yaacob was appointed to the position on May 1, the man he is supposed to have replaced Datuk Seri Judin Abdul Karim remains in his office.

Judin was in lieu of that development assigned as chief executive of the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) — a more junior post. This apparent demotion without prior disciplinary action, therefore contravenes the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Judin, who has been director-general for three years, has chosen instead to stay put while Mohd Noor continues to work from his old office as the department’s deputy director general II.

A legitimate PWD director-general (DG) is crucial because all public works contracts have to be signed by him, government officers said.

According to several former leaders of the civil service union, this should not have happened nor has it precedence.

One former senior Cuepacs officer said that a department head can only be demoted if it was recommended by the board of conduct, implying a disciplinary case.

“If there was any abuse of power, it would mean the sack but in this instance, there was no disciplinary case. Therefore it breaches the Public Officers Regulations,” he said.

Mohd Noor was promoted by the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan at the end of April.

It coincided with Judin’s reassignment which the incumbent feels is a demotion, according to Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar who raised the issue in Parliament yesterday.

“There is something not right in the PWD. There is a confused administration there and in the works ministry,” he said when contacted by The Malaysian Insider.

The PAS vice president said that while Mohd Noor attended meetings and carried out the duties of the DG, the question arose of how the situation occurred in the first place.

Mahfuz said that Judin’s argument is the CIDB chief executive post is lower than a director general.

“Judin considers himself mistreated with the demotion and I understand he refused to accept the documents notifying him of the change in designation,” he said.

He added that the move was even stranger as Judin has three years to retirement while the man intended to replace him has only one before reaching age of pension.

Mahfuz also said that a director general usually gets to retire in that position, and several blogs and websites have already speculated that the changes were political in nature.

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