Sunday October 14, 2012
Cuepacs seeks explanation
By NICHOLAS CHENG
PETALING JAYA: Cuepacs wants the Government to explain a circular which stipulates that civil workers who wish to travel overseas for personal reasons must first seek approval from their ministry's secretary- general.
The Oct 1 letter also stated that all public officers should declare that they had sufficient financial ability for the visit.
It was signed by Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa, purportedly to improve the public service delivery system.
Cuepacs president Datuk Omar Osman said he would meet Dr Ali for a clarification on Wednesday.
“I would understand if the overseas trips were for official purposes,” said Omar.
“But I am confused as to why civil servants would need approval when they make personal travels abroad.”
He suggested that Dr Ali briefed the civil servants on the new ruling, as many were not aware of it.
Meanwhile, a Public Service Department employee in Putrajaya, who gave her name as Nora, said the new ruling was “unnecessary” and would make applying for vacations “troublesome”.
“Before this, we only had to submit our applications to our respective department heads.
“That alone would take at least two months to process,” she said, adding that it had been troublesome for civil servants with families in bordering countries like Thailand and Singapore.
“I'm afraid the approval period would now take longer since the authority would now fall to the Chief Secretary and secretary-generals,”added Nora, who planned to visit Seoul next month.
From the teachers' viewpoint, National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Hashim Adnan said it was common practice among them to provide details for approval before making personal trips overseas.
“The matter is for security purposes in the event an accident occurs to them while overseas.
“Their superiors - who would be informed of where they are and when they are supposed to return home - can then liaise with the relevant embassy in the foreign country,” he said.
The new circular also requires an officer intending to travel abroad to declare that the visit is not sponsored by any individual or private company.
Public officers who have to make frequent visits to a neighbouring country should also apply for the approval.
For this purpose, the approvers may use their discretion to grant the applicant a blanket approval for a period of one year.
Public officers who are on a fully-paid study leave, on the other hand, are only requested to get a written approval from their academic supervisors and inform their heads of departments for record purposes.