At the 16th Civil Service Premier Gathering (MAPPA XVI) yesterday, Pime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced several new benefits for civil servants and pensioners, Bernama reported.

Higher salary, better career opportunities and more benefits for civil servants

Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, announced an additional annual salary increment amounting to RM1.46 billion for 1.6 million civil servants effective 1 July 2018. The PM said this increment was in appreciation for the service, sacrifice and hard work put in by the civil servants.

To provide better career advancement opportunities to officers in the implementer group for all services, Najib also announced that the government had agreed to again implement promotion by time-based excellence for the implementer group by shortening the period from 13 years to 10 years from 1 January this year. The implementation would encompass 23,006 officers and involve a financial implication of RM34 million for 2018.

At the same time, another level of promotional grade will be created (namely Grade DG56) for education service officers who have been on Grade 54 for more than five years and had been providing excellent service. Najib explained: "The creation of Grade DG56 will give opportunities for promotion for 323 officers, and involve a financial implication of RM7.4 million beginning 1 January 2019."

The PM also announced that medical benefits will be extended to parents of officers on contract of service, benefiting the parents of 42,867 officers, effective 1 July this year.

In Budget 2018, Najib revealed the approval of a seven-day unrecorded leave for Muslim civil servants to perform the 'umrah' (minor Haj).

As a sign of respect for the racial and religious diversity in Malaysia, the PM said the government will extend unrecorded leave for a maximum of seven days for non-Muslim civil servants during the period of service to enable them fulfill their respective religious activities, effective January this year.

Additionally, Najib said the government had agreed to provide an annual contribution of at least RM3 million to Cuepacs.

Three new incentives for pensioners

To establish a balance in the welfare of civil servants and government pensioners, Najib also announced three incentives for the about 800,000 pensioners in Malaysia.

First, he said the government will provide a one-off 1% increase in pension from 1 July to 31 December this year on top of  to the annual 2% increase given on 1 January for all pensioners in Malaysia. Najib also noted that to date, the retirement benefits, such as pension, gratuity, and remuneration in lieu of leave, allocated for government pensioners in 2018 amounted to RM24 billion.

To facilitate activities that pensioners active, the PM said the government has agreed to provide special grants of RM1 million to the government pensioners associations including the Government Pensioners Association of Malaysia, the Malaysian Government Pensioners Foundation, and the 1Malaysia Government Pensioners Club (KUPEKMAS).

Najib also revealed that beginning this year, the government would allocate a quota  for members of the government pensioners associations to perform the Haj. He added: "The quota will be announced after the government is informed of the total quota allocated for Malaysia by the Saudi Arabian government."