Muaki: gov’t has no right to threaten public servants

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BY ALFRED PAGEPITU

THE Government’s statement on Covid-19 vaccination is unhelpful and an unfortunate threat to the employment of public servants.

That’s according to former Special Secretary to three prime ministers, Andrew Donua Muaki,

Muaki was reacting to earlier comments made by the government in which the Attorney General stated to the effect that public servants either get vaccinated or resign.

In an interview with Island Sun yesterday, Muaki said such comments not only amount to employer intimidation, but might be legally wrong and politically unwise for the government to do so.

“If the government cares to look up relevant regulations on the discipline of public servants, it would realise termination is only one of five penalties for breaches of public service rules, regulations or Code after a lengthy due process,” Muaki said.

“here is no power to summarily dismiss a public servant under the public service regulations,” he added.

“And I really doubt the courts will agree with the government that insubordination to take the Covid-19 vaccination is a good ground for termination of public servants.

“It appears to me insubordination should only attract less punishment short of termination.”

Muaki said forced resignation would be politically unpopular for the government.

He said the government would basically increased unemployment during a pandemic and the government would find it difficult to fill up vacancies left behind by those who either resigned or forced to terminate.

“Instead of addressing covid-19 vaccination issue, the government would spend time filling up vacancies.

“When governments throughout the world are trying to ensure their citizens stay employed during an international pandemic, here we have a government that tries to have an employment war with its own public servants over its vaccination efforts.

“Whoever advises the government to utter such non-sense needs to look into the mirror and get back to reality.”

He said threat of termination or forced resignations advanced by the government only goes to show the government does not appreciate the contribution of public servants.

“I know of many public servants who dedicate their service to our nation in the service of the government.

“Is the government now saying, ‘oh well your stella public service record is no good to us since you refuse to take Covid-19 vaccination’”? 

Muaki also takes a shot at the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Public Service.

“I must say I find the so-called directive from the PS of MPS, quoted in the local media, directing public servants to be vacinated as a very disturbing piece of directive,” Muaki said.

He said any directives or orders must have legal basis to begin with.

“After reading the so-called ‘directive’ from the PS/MPS, I asked myself this question: which legal authority was the learned PS used to direct every public servant to have Covid-19 vaccination?

“You can’t just issue directives or orders. Only dictators and tyrants issue decree without legal basis.

“The PS never quoted the source for his directive,” Muaki said.

He reminded the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Public Service to ensure he has authority to issue such Directives.

“My guess is that the learned PS might not have the authority to issue such directives in the first place,” he told Island Sun from his home in Brisbane, where he is currently undertaking graduate studies in cybersecurity.