No per­sonal over­seas trips for staff from May 1

New Straits Times - - News - FAIRUZ MOHD SHA­HAR PU­TRA­JAYA

THE In­for­ma­tion Depart­ment con­firmed that it has is­sued a memo to freeze per­sonal over­seas trips for staff ef­fec­tive May 1 in line with prepa­ra­tions for the next gen­eral elec­tion.

Its di­rec­tor-gen­eral Datuk Ibrahim Abd Rah­man said the memo was an in­ter­nal cir­cu­lar to re­mind of­fi­cers want­ing to go abroad for pri­vate hol­i­days or per­sonal mat­ters to make their ap­pli­ca­tions in ad­vance.

“This is to pre­vent staff from book­ing flight tick­ets when the depart­ment needs them to fo­cus on its ac­tiv­i­ties and of­fi­cial pro­grammes.

“The depart­ment is in­volved in na­tional ac­tiv­i­ties, which in­clude the Na­tional Day, the SEA Games, the king’s coro­na­tion, ad­vo­cacy ac­tiv­i­ties, pub­lic en­gage­ment and gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy mar­ket­ing, among oth­ers.

“It has to help the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion to en­sure a smooth demo­cratic process by run­ning cam­paigns and ed­u­cat­ing the pub­lic on vot­ing pro­ce­dures and meth­ods through the me­dia,” he said yesterday.

The memo, dated Feb 28, and up­loaded to a so­cial me­dia ac­count, has gone vi­ral on Face­book and What­sApp.

Ibrahim said the cir­cu­lar was is­sued ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Cir­cu­lar No. 1 of 2014 as is­sued by the Pub­lic Ser­vice Depart­ment.

He said it was a nor­mal pro­ce­dure to is­sue such a cir­cu­lar a year be­fore Par­lia­ment was dis­solved to re­mind staff to be pre­pared for the elec­tion.

“It is the depart­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to dis­sem­i­nate in­for­ma­tion on gov­ern­ment poli­cies.

“Some re­serve flight tick­ets a year be­fore the flight date­be­cause of the cheap rates.

“When their leave ap­pli­ca­tion is not ap­proved, they will ap­peal us­ing the ex­cuse that they have booked their flight tick­ets.

“The cir­cu­lar to freeze per­sonal over­seas trips is only meant for In­for­ma­tion Depart­ment staff. It does not in­volve other civil ser­vants,”

The staff, how­ever, can still travel do­mes­ti­cally and ap­ply to do so through their di­vi­sion heads and di­rec­tors.

Datuk Ibrahim Abd Rah­man

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