MPs tackle absenteeism among civil servants

Kayah State’s Parliament is tying to combat truancy among civil servants dispatched to remote areas by improving government housing.

On February 22, Kayah (Karenni) State MP U Aung Naing Oo (NLD; Me-se 1) introduced a proposal to ensure adequate state housing for civil servants in rural areas. The proposal was approved the following day.

“In some villages, there is no housing for the staff ... If they have their own houses or have staff quarters, the situation will be less difficult for them,” he said.

The proposal also encourages government offices to take retributive action against civil servants who flout their duties, or who fail to appear during office hours.

“If a teacher is assigned to serve [somewhere], but does not want to and so fails to show up, action must be taken according to the law,” U Aung Naing Oo said. “If he or she is assigned to a township, then he/she should carry out his/her duty for two or three years. Then his/her assignment can be substituted. We will encourage government teams to punish teachers who do not follow these guidelines.”  

Residents in Kayah (Karenni) State blame a lack of proper housing for contributing to a shortage of civil servants in the health and education sectors.

Even though Bo Layar village, Dimawso township has a local health center, it doesn’t always have full time staff, said local Noe Reh.  In emergency cases or those that need urgent attention, residents often have to go to the township hospital.

“When we have an emergency, we first rush to the Karenni health center. If they can assist the case, the patient will stay there. If not, the patients will be sent to Demoso Hospital. We also have 1-2 members from backpacker medics group who travel to our area. When they are in the village, we just rely on them,” said Noe Reh.

Another local government clinic in Htay-Kho village, Hpruso township also lacks full-time staff.

“The main difficulty we face is accessing medicine and healthcare. Do we blame the government for the lack of medics in our health center? They set up a local clinic here, but now there are no staff,” said another resident, Paw Luu.

According to medical staff, civil servants assigned to remote areas face many problems, and need the public to cooperate.

“They often face concerns about their security. If there are security concerns [where they have been assigned], they don’t want to keep working in that location,” said a medical staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The best practice is to assign local staff from the area whenever possible. So for instance the Kayah medical staff should be assigned to help people in Kayah.”

Translated by Aong Jaeneh
Edited by Laignee Barron for BNI