Najib: I will forever be with the people

(NST) PUTRAJAYA: Saying he would remain sensitive to the needs and welfare of workers in the public sector, Datuk Seri Najib Razak reiterated his ultimate wish to be the prime minister for all the people.

"I want to be the rakyat's prime minister. I am with the people and I will forever be with them," he told a mass gathering of workers in the public sector at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre yesterday.

Present were his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Cuepacs president Omar Osman, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, Public Services Department director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam and several ministers.

Najib, who is also finance minister, said there must be a close relationship between members of the administration and civil servants in order for the country to forge ahead.

"The government must understand the public sector and we must also listen to the pulse of the nation, the rakyat. That was why I started my walkabouts.

"I went to Puduraya (bus terminal) so that I could smell the sweat, the grime and the dust. This is totally different if I were to listen to a briefing on the terminal by the mayor in my air-conditioned room. You are able to look deeply and assess the real situation.

"I do not want formality, red-carpet welcomes, garlands and so on. I just want to continue going down to the ground. Even if there is no (media) coverage, it is OK as I want to be the people's prime minister," he said to applause from about 5,000 workers who turned up at the centre.

Najib also said he did not like to see or hear people looking down on the country.

"That is why your productivity, performance and integrity must always be at the highest level. Let them say that we are good and courteous whenever they call us for answers or see us at the counters. Whenever you are manning the counters, please smile. Even if you do not know English, try to learn a few words like 'welcome to Malaysia'.

"This is especially important for immigration officers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport as this is our contact point for tourists."

Najib also said he wanted Putrajaya to be a showcase of excellence for the country.

"The offices, even the toilets, must always be managed and maintained. Then, Malaysia will be seen as successful.

"I don't want other people to look down on us or for Malaysia to be known as a low-wage nation."

He said physical development in the country had to be balanced with intellectual capital.

"If you want a successful Malaysia, we must perform diligently and be able to assess everything, from ministers, heads of department to workers."

"I want all of us to uphold the philosophy of close relations, mutual respect for each other, commitment and loyalty. I will take care of you and you, please, take care of the government."

Najib paid tribute to his late father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, whom he said could remember all the district officers in the country, including their fathers.

"It may be impossible for me to remember all of you because of the huge size of the present civil service but I am committed to establishing good rapport with all of you, regardless of your positions."

Najib announced the allocation of RM170.4 million to improve the service schemes of workers in the support group category.

He said the move was in appreciation of the contributions of the 176,066 officers in the support group for the federal service.

"In this respect, officers in the support group with 15 years of service or more will be considered for promotion to a higher grade effective July 1.

"The government also agreed to formulate and improve 10 service schemes, involving 20,637 government servants, also effective July 1."

The service schemes include those covering food preparation officers and marine assistants.

Data processing machine operators, junior administration assistant officers and guards will also benefit from the move.