Declining performance of Malaysia’s civil service, World Bank report


KUALA LUMPUR: The performance of Malaysia’s civil service has been declining since 2014, according to a World Bank report, which also expressed concerns about the sustainability of the country’s public sector wage bill.

The report, which came about following the visit of World Bank vice-president for East Asia and Pacific Victoria Kwakwa to Malaysia last December during which she met the Prime Minister, also ranked Malaysia lowly in its indicators for accountability, impartiality as well as the transparency and openness of its public service.

The report – which is included in the World Bank’s six-monthly economic monitor on Malaysia – will be formally launched today.

World Bank lead public sector specialist Rajni Bajpai said that while Malaysia was doing better than others in South-East Asia, there was a very “big gap” in the performance of its civil servants with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

She said the report decided to compare Malaysia with the OECD countries as it was hoping to move from a middle-income status country to that of high-income.

“When you compare Malaysia with others in the region, Malaysia has been doing pretty well but we see that the performance has stagnated.

“If you look at the indicator for government effectiveness, Malaysia is still above in the region but in 2018, the performance is below that of between 1991 and 2014.

“If you take the average of that period between 1991 and 2014, it was higher than that in 2018, which means the performance is declining,” she said in an interview.

There were also some indicators in which Malaysia ranked even below the region, said Rajni, adding that this included accountability, impartiality and the openness of its public sector.

“There is a strong perception … that recruitment of the civil service is not fair and neutral (with) Malaysia scoring very poorly on the indicators for impartiality in the government.

“It’s the lowest ranked, even below the region and way below the OECD,” she said, adding that the government in its election manifesto had suggested setting up an Equal Opportunities Commis­sion meant to tackle discriminatory practices in both the public and private sector.

“Malaysia also scores very poorly on the openness indicators. Malaysia is not a very open economy in the sense that data sharing is a very big problem.

“The government does not share of a lot of data, even within its own departments or with the citizens.

“And citizens’ feedback and voices are not factored by the government into the design of programmes,” she said, adding that the report would suggest the setting up of an institutional and legal framework for open data sharing.

Another indicator that Malaysia performed “not very well”, according to Rajni, was in digitisation and technological advances, which the government had not been able to integrate into its system to provide services.

The report, said Rajni, also focused on another critical element in Malaysia’s civil service, in that the recruitment, which was carried out by the Public Services Department, was overcentralised.

Describing Malaysia as one of the “most overcentralised”, she pointed out that in many countries, this function had been devolved to other departments and even state governments.

“Overcentralisation does not allow for the people who actually need the public servants to do certain jobs … because they don’t have the right people or the recruitment takes a very long time,” she said.

OECD countries, said Rajni, had been using a competency framework for the recruitment of their civil service, which defined the kind of roles and skills needed in the public sector, rather than taking in people generally for everything.

Among the indicators that Malaysia performed very well were for the ease of doing business – for which Malaysia is ranked 15th – and the inclusion of women in its civil service.

“Women occupied almost 50% of the civil service although there are some issues with women in higher management,” said Rajni.

Other indicators that were highlighted in the report included political stability, regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption.

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TNB blames technical glitch! Explain discrepanccies in bills, TNB told


KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has admitted that a recent technical glitch is among the reasons for the sudden surge in utility bills.

TNB president and chief executive officer Amir Hamzah Azizan, who held a press conference yesterday, was apologetic and promised to investigate and resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Amir said the technical glitch between May 15 and May 20 caused a slight disruption to the system but it had since been resolved.

“Between May 15 and May 20, the system has been operationalised in stages so we can ensure we can (provide) service to the customers as fast as we can.

“By May 20, everything was back in operation. Some customers may have been billed for extra days (causing a hike in the bill),” he told the media.

Amir urged consumers to lodge a report if they noticed any discre­pancies in their bills.

He vowed that TNB would investigate and address their complaints.

Amir said in April alone, the utility company received 5,621 complaints but this almost doubled to 9,028 in May.

“This brings the total number of complaints to 14,469 reports and from this, 11,331 have been re­solved.

“We would also like to repeat our stand that TNB will keep its promise to investigate the reports.

“If there is evidence that we did overcharge, we will credit the amount back to our customers’ accounts,” Amir said.

He said a special task force, led by TNB’s chief retail officer Megat Jalaluddin Megat Hassan, had been formed to oversee the complaints and resolve the issue.

Megat Jalaluddin said that it usual­ly took about two weeks to credit the amount back to consumers but it could be delayed due to the large number of complaints received.

Amir said other reasons for the sudden surge in electricity bills include old and faulty TNB meters, replacement of new meters and increased usage in the consumer’s household.

He also assured consumers of uninterrupted electricity supply, especially during Hari Raya.

“To those who have lodged reports or ongoing investigations, we assure that the disconnection notice will be postponed for two weeks.

“We would like everyone to have a peaceful Hari Raya celebration,” he said.

Amir said the operation hours of TNB offices would be extended from 8am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday, except for public holidays.

As for the TNB Careline, the hours will be extended from 7am to 11pm every day including public holidays, except for Sunday.

This is to help facilitate complaints from consumers and to help resolve their billing issues as soon as possible.

On comments by Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin that TNB would be fined even after it rectifies the billing problem, Amir said at the moment the utility company would focus on fixing the problem.

“My focus is to resolve this issue, we will talk about other issues later. The consumers are our priority,” he said.

During an interview on 8TV’s Global Watch programme on Thursday, Yeo said the Energy Commission had already given TNB a warning letter and an instruction notice to resolve the problem.

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Explain discrepancies in bills, TNB told


KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) should give a concrete explanation for the sudden discre­pancies in electricity bills and take holistic steps instead of just depending on complaints from users, say consumer groups.

Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) education officer N.V. Sub­barao said TNB, as the national utility company, must take responsibility instead of depending on consumers to come forward and lodge reports.

“TNB must do the due diligence. It will be unfair to those especially in the rural areas,” he said.

Federation of Malaysian Consu­mers Associations (Fomca) chief operations officer T. Saravanan said that while TNB wanted users to lodge complaints, the utility company needed to improve its customer service and response time.

He noted that TNB should explain why there was a technical glitch in its system.

“The problem should have been communicated to the public earlier and they should not have waited for the Energy Commission or Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry to intervene,” he said.

He also noted that the Energy Commission should investigate the issue and publish its findings.

“An independent investigation team should be formed so that the findings won’t be biased.

“The Energy Commission should play an important role in protecting consumers,” said Saravanan.

Malaysian Islamic Consumer Association secretary-general Datuk Dr Ma’mor Osman said TNB’s explanation that the sudden increase in electricity bill was due to a technical glitch could not be accepted.

“The public cannot accept this as TNB has all the technology to check silly mistakes.

“TNB makes very high profits and they have monopolised the sector.

“If they do not give a satisfactory explanation, consumers will as­sume that they just want to make more money.

“If they know there is a glitch in the system, they need to inform all consumers.

“There is no point in blaming others for their wrongdoing,” he said.

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https://youtu.be/PDdFdvklQN0 https://youtu.be/PDdFdvklQN0https://youtu.be/PDdFdvklQN0 Minister: Technical and billing issues also ..

Unhappy lot: Some of the consumers making a report over their inaccurate electricity bill at the TNB counters.  MELAKA: Tenaga Na.

 

Yeo said the high electricity bills problem was in most cases due to TNB’s technical problem in billing the customers. — Picture by Saw S…

 

TNB to re-credit those overcharged


Unhappy lot: Some of the consumers making a report over their inaccurate electricity bill at the TNB counters. 

MELAKA: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has promised to re-credit the excess amount into the bills if consumers have been overcharged.

In a statement, the company said it viewed seriously the concerns of consumers over the drastic increase in their bills and was committed to resolving the issue.

It said it would ensure every complaint was investigated and follow-up action taken.

“This includes returning the excess amount if indeed they have been overcharged. It will be re-credited into the customers’ bills,” it said, adding that it would continue to cooperate with the Energy Commission.

TNB said a comprehensive effort was being carried out to thoroughly resolve the issue.

“This includes helping customers with high bills to personally address their grouses at the nearest TNB outlet or contact the TNB CareLine at 1-300-88-5454.

“We appreciate all the grouses, complaints and feedback and are focusing on finding ways to resolve these,” it said as it apologised to customers.

Meanwhile, yesterday, more than 300 people lodged complaints over their electricity bills in the first three hours of the TNB counters being opened at its headquarters in Jalan Banda Kaba here.

Some 30 counters were set up to take complaints from consumers, who lined up before the office opened.

On Tuesday, the counters, which were opened for 11 hours, took in 560 complaints.

The counters will remain open until tomorrow.

On Tuesday, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said negligence and technical fault as well as billing for electricity usage for over 30 days, instead of the standard 30 days, had caused electricity bills to spike for certain consumers.

She also said the complaints were from nationwide and not just in Melaka, where it is among the pioneer states to adopt TNB’s smart meter project.

In another statement, TNB denied a viral message on social media that its board of directors had received a government directive to increase electricity tariffs by 30%.

It said it did not have among its staff the name of the person who had purportedly written the message.

It said electricity tariffs were decided by the commission.Source link
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Minister: Technical and billing issues also to blame for price spike

PUTRAJAYA: Negligence and technical fault on the part of Tenaga Nasional Bhd were two among three reasons why electricity bills spiked for certain consumers but the government is having none of it.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin, who disclosed this, said TNB must be made accountable for what happened or risk facing legal action from consumers.

“They are not just going to get a slap on the wrist but must be accountable for this and resolve the matter with consumers. Fail to do so and they will face legal action,” she told a press conference at her ministry yesterday.

Also present was Energy Commission chairman Datuk Ahmad Fauzi Hasan.

The Commission had met TNB earlier yesterday over the uproar among consumers in Melaka, and other parts of the country who complained of higher than usual power bills.

Besides the two reasons, Yeo said the other given was that consumers were billed for electricity usage for over 30 days when the standard procedure required the utility firm to issue bills for 30 days.

Yeo said the complaints on surge in power charges was from consumers nationwide and not just Melaka households involved in the smart meter pilot project by TNB.

Many consumers had vented their frustration on social media.

In May alone, more than 300 complaints were lodged with the Commission. This was 10 times more than the complaints in the same month last year.

Yeo said the Commission would play its part by investigating the complaints and submit its findings.

Asked whether the affected consumers should settle their dues first, the minister said she would discuss the issue with TNB and believed the problem could be resolved before the payment deadline.

On the smart meter issue, Yeo said the Commission was also investigating to find out what had gone wrong.

Melaka is among the pioneer states to introduce the smart meter and to date, over 300,000 households have already been fitted with it.

Chief Minister Adly Zahari was quoted as saying that he wanted TNB to ensure the system was implemented properly and to resolve several problems, including that the reading shown on myTNB was not the same as that on the meter.

A TNB spokesman said grievances from consumers would be addressed on a case-by-case basis, adding: “Our role is to listen, understand and serve our customers while upholding the law.”

TNB also inviteed consumers in Melaka with grouses to attend its Customers Day at its office in Jalan Banda Kaba which will be held until Friday (8.30am to 4pm daily).

It said each case would be investigated based on the electricity use pattern over the last six months. The firm said it will also, upon investigation, credit any surcharge to the consumer’s account, in the event of overcharging or when excess reading had occurred.

Alternatively, customers can contact the TNB Careline at 1300-88-5454 or visit any TNB office in Alor Gajah, Bandar Jasin, Merlimau and Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) at Jalan Hang Tuah.

Meanwhile, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the Cabinet was the best avenue to discuss the issue of irregular electricity billing and the solution to it.

He believed Yeo would most likely be asked to explain the matter in today’s Cabinet meeting.

“I have received a lot of Whatsapp messages on this matter. The reaction we have received was nationwide,” Saifuddin said after chairing his ministry’s monthly assembly here yesterday.- The Star

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