[Update] Abolishment of Critical Allowance: What Really Happened
This is an update on the ongoing case regarding the abolishment of BIPK. To understand the background of the story, be sure to have a read at it here.
Ever since the announcement of the abolishment of the critical allowance, the government has been subjected to endless public furore. Many stakeholders have since voiced their disdain and concerns for the future of the occupations affected by this.
Amidst the virtual picket signs and gestures of solidarity, one question has been lingering in the minds of many of us — how on earth did this get approved?
We know that cabinet meetings can be a drone and sometimes decisions made as a result of these meetings are not the wisest.
On 30 December, Federal Territories minister Khalid Samad who was part of the Special Cabinet Committee Meeting shed some light on what really happened during the session.
Tak Sempat Baca?
“We couldn’t read everything and it was approved,” said Khalid in a news conference. He explained that the Cabinet paper pertaining the critical allowance was paper #35. This meant that prior to the discussion on this, 34 other papers were already tabled, discussed and debated. The cabinet ministers also did not thoroughly go through the paper before deciding on it.
This was also due to the fact that the paper was presented on the day of the meeting itself, instead of 2 weeks in advance as per protocol. “Why the rush?” he said. “The paper could have been submitted two weeks later because the Cabinet meets every 2 weeks”
UMNO Youth Chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has since posted a statement on his Facebook page urging the minister to resign if he is “too lazy or have no time to read the cabinet papers.” “Is he detached from the pulse of the rakyat who are suffering from cost-of-living issues?” added Asyraf.
On 3 January, Khalid posted a tweet in response to Asyraf’s statement. He reiterated that the ministers simply did not have enough time to thoroughly read through the papers on BIPK. “We were told that it was a usual administration issue. Allowances that are no longer relevant. On good faith, approved.” Khalid also said that a heading in the report had mentioned an “adjustment” to allowances. However, it was stated as a withdrawal of the allowance later on.
Was this done deliberately? Nobody knows, at least not for now. Khalid however gives this the benefit of the doubt as he thinks this was done on accident. “We do not want to say there is sabotage, we do not know, but maybe those who submitted the paper may have thought it was merely an administrative matter.”
Be it an accident or a lapse in focus from the ministers, this still underlines the many improvements needed when it comes to decision making, especially by those in the upper echelon. This also very clearly illustrates the impact a decision, be it big or small, can have on the Rakyat.
The decision on the abolishment of BIPK will be tabled and discussed again when cabinet reconvenes.