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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sabah govt ‘glitch’ leaves workers without wages

No salaries for five months, Putatan district council workers are 'suffering in silence', says Sabah Progressive People's Party.

KOTA KINABALU: Its been five months since the 50 staff at the Putatan district council, in Sabah, received their salaries.

During this period there was a government announcement on price hikes on oil and fuel to complement an earlier round of subsidy withdrawals which resulted in the cost of everyday necessities to spiral beyond the reach of the low-wage earners.

Throw-in school reopening, Christmas and now Chinese New Year expenses, does the ruling administration understand the nightmare it has caused the wage earning council workers?

Well, Sabah Progressive Peoples’ Party (SAPP) does not think so.

“This is ridiculous…How do you expect the workers to make ends meet when they do not get their pay for five months?

“Maybe the ministers and assemblymen should not be given payments for five months and let’s see how they feel about it,” snapped SAPP vice-president Dullie Marie.

He was chastising Deputy Chief Minister Yahya Hussin for his flippant ‘its just a transitional glitch’ explanation.

Yahya had attributed the delay in salary disbursements to council workers to the splitting of Putatan and Penampang into two separate district councils.

No where to go

Dullie contended that in the first place the Local Government and Housing Ministry should not have taken the Putatan district out of the Penampang district council if they could not handle such crucial administrative matters.

“We are talking about non-payment of salaries for five months here which certainly could not be due to transition glitches.

“Is there a cash-flow problem? This cannot be because allocation for salaries of the state government staff was already been approved in the annual budget.

“There should be no reason for such a delay,” he said.

Dullie also slammed the local government’s decision to split the district.

“Why split it into Penampang district council and Putatan district council but then can’t afford to pay the workers their salaries?

“This shows that the government is weak. Such problems could also affect the delivery systems, which in the long run could cause much difficulty to the people,” he said.

He also took to task Putatan MP Marcus Mojigoh for failing to help the affected workers until their plight was highlighted by the opposition party.

“These affected council workers are suffering in silence … they cannot seek help from the Labour or Industrial Relations Department because it involves a government agency,” he quipped. - FMT

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