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PUTRAJAYA: Amid heavy criticism that the Malaysian civil service workforce is bloated, Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa has reiterated that it was just a matter of definition and that the government has no plans to trim down its 1.6 million workforce during this economic downturn.

“Our definition of civil service include the police, the armed forces, and healthcare and education personnel. It’s not the same as the definition of civil service used in other countries. That’s why we seem to have a lot more civil servants in this country,” he said.

The Chief Secretary made the statement after the Congress of Unions of the Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepecs) on Wednesday brushed off the call for the government to downsize its civil service in order to cut operational expenses.

The government spent RM74 billion on salary and emoluments for civil servants last year. It is expected to spend an additional RM2 billion on salary this year.

Earlier, Ali attended a special luncheon for 400 retired civil servants, organised by Puspanita.

Also present was the president of Puspanita, Puan Sri Rohani Abdullah.

Ali, who is the advisor of Puspanita said the government would be organising more community service programmes for its retired civil servants in the future, which include health checks and post-retirement financial planning.

“We appreciate the civil servants contributions to the country. Hosting more get together programmes with our retired colleagues is one of the ways for us to keep in touch and look into their welfare beyond retirement,” he said.