SEREMBAN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Federal government departments in Malaysia will now operate for an additional half hour on working days and close at 6pm, said Public Service Department director-general Zainal Rahim Seman.
With longer operating hours, government employees will now work on four shifts: 7.30am to 4.30pm, 8am to 5pm, 8.30am to 5.30pm and 9am to 6pm.
Zainal said the move would give more flexibility to civil servants and improve the public delivery system.
"This is part of the public service transformation process and the continuous improvement of our services. Federal offices will now be open from 7.30am to 6pm," he said in a directive.
Federal departments and agencies in Perlis, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca, Pahang, Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya will be open from 7.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Those in Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Johor will be open from 7.30am to 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and 7.30am to 4.30pm on Thursday, Zainal added.
The president of the civil service trade union Cuepacs, Azih Muda, said the move would allow civil servants to better plan their day.
"Some of them have things to do in the morning, like sending their children to nurseries, and are unable to come in at the third shift which starts at 8.30am.
"This (being able to start at 9am) will give them more flexibility and reduce the stress of rushing to work to avoid being late," he said, adding that it was Cuepacs that proposed the change to the government.
Asked if this means counter services would be open until 6pm, Azih said this would depend on where the office is located.
"It will make sense to have counter services until 6pm in cities or big towns. It won't be practical in smaller towns as the utility bills will certainly go up," he said.