Najib promises $494 million in pay hikes to civil servants

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday promised RM1.46 billion (S$494.3 million) in salary hikes to Malaysia's civil servants, a key vote bank for the ruling coalition in a looming general election.

Malaysia's 1.6 million civil servants, most of them ethnic Malays, have traditionally been supporters of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

But the rising cost of living has been a concern for many, with some ruling party officials warning that the civil servants could turn against the party if the issue is not addressed.

"The government has agreed to increase the salaries amounting to one service year for all 1.6 million civil servants... with an additional RM1.46 billion from July 1," Mr Najib told a gathering of civil servants in Putrajaya.

He promised a one-time cash payment of RM1,500 in October for civil servants and RM750 for government retirees as part of the 2018 Budget.

Civil servants saw a salary hike of between 7 per cent and 13 per cent in 2012, ahead of the 2013 general election.

The date for the upcoming polls could be announced in days. - REUTERS