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Monday, July 2, 2012

Furore over PSD chief's abrupt sacking

Pro-BN bloggers have hit out at Berita Harian for highlighting the abrupt sacking of outgoing public services department (PSD) chief Abu Bakar Abdullah.

While pro-Pakatan bloggers have hailed Abu Bakar's boot, pro-BN bloggers have slammed Berita Harian for making a fuss out of what would have been a low profile exit for the senior public servant.

rocky bru ahirudin attanVeteran journalist and editor Ahiruddin Atan (right) who blogs as Rockybru had said: "I should not be bad-blogging New Straits Times Press (NSTP), my former employer, but I am concerned that the pro-establishment bloggers are starting to feel the old itch with regards to the pro-establishment newspaper group NSTP, especially its group managing editor, Jalil Abdul Hamid."

Another pro-Umno blogger, Unspinners, was less kind, calling the report as a sabotage attempt against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and called for Jalil to be given the sack.

It has been widely speculated in the blogosphere that Abu Bakar's term was ended due to the botched Public Service Remuneration Scheme (SPBA) which would have seen top ranking officials receive hefty pay hikes while lower tier workers would only get a meagre RM10 increase.

"Jalil appears to be in cahoots to embarrass Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak by defending Abu Bakar through the space given to him for his complaint.

"Najib was already embarrassed enough when he had to reverse the decision (SBPA plan). The report appears as if Abu Bakar was persecuted," the blog posting read.

Najib had on March 8 announced that the SBPA would be scrapped and the initial retirement scheme restored with improvement after the planned reform faced fierce criticism from public servants.

'I had planned to retire at 60'

According to Sin Chew Daily, Abu Bakar was quoted as telling Berita Harian that he had not retired but instead had his service terminated by the government.

"I and my family are saddened over what had happened. That is all I can say, I don't want to say anything more that can be distorted," he was quoted as saying.

Abu Bakar said he received the letter of termination for his service with PSD, stating that his term would end on July 1.

He added in the report that he had intended to retire at the age of 60 but due to the early termination, his pension and Employee Provident Fund (EPF) quantum would only be calculated until June 30 this year.

The 57-year old had been in public service for 35 years.

In a brief statement on Facebook, Abu Bakar said: "Throughout my service as a public servant, I have seen and experienced various changes to the service and I am proud of everyone's contributions and achievements.

"I would also like to take the opportunity to apologise for any mistakes that I may have done, not because of any intention to persecute anyone but due to my own weaknesses as a human being".
 Not clear
According to Sin Chew daily, when asked to comment if Abu Bakar's termination was due to SPBA, newly-minted chief secretary to the government Ali Hamza replied: "I'm not clear on the matter".

He added that he had not signed any termination of service letters in his new position as chief secretary but will issue a statement soon on the matter.

NONEThe circumstance behind Abu Bakar's termination was first broken by the Berita Harian's Sunday edition.

A one-paragraph portion of story was also available on its website under the headline "I am saddened that my service was ended early".

According to the New Straits Times on June 30, there is speculation that the position may be filled by Abu Bakar's deputy Faridah Mohd Ali or Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry secretary-general Madinah Mohamad (right)- either would make history as the country's first female PSD chief.
According to Bernama, Farida will serve as acting PSD chief in the interim.

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