Following the recent price hikes of the petrol and consumer goods, Cuepacs (Kongres Kesatuan Pekerja Pekerja Dalam Perkhidmatan Awam), one of the most proactive employee unions in Malaysia, has requested the government to consider reviewing the COLA allowance (Elaun Kos Sara Hidup) for the second time in a space of a year.
Cuepacs President, Omar osman is on the opinion that locality-based COLA allowance is no longer relevant as the public servants in remote areas have to make do with the same fuel price as those living in the urban areas. Most of the country’s citizens are still reeling from the effect of 40% increase in fuel price.
The COLA allowance was first implemented in late 2006 as part of the effort to reduce the burden of the public servants working in big cities and who were facing the elevating cost of living. The allowance give out is not subject to income tax deduction. Presently, government employees in Kuala Lumpur are entitled for RM300 of COLA allowance whereas others in other areas get RM150 per month.
In 2007, more than 1 million employees in public service received a massive increment of between 7.5 to 35%, and on top the gross salary increase, the government also doubled the COLA allowance entitlement.