KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Government employees in a Malaysian state are being monitored by security cameras to keep them from slacking off at work or vanishing for long tea breaks, a news report said Monday.

Sixteen closed-circuit television cameras were installed recently to improve security in northeastern Terengganu state's main government administrative complex, but they serve an additional purpose of keeping tabs on some 1,000 workers there, Terengganu State Secretary Mokhtar Nong told The Star newspaper.

"We would know if they are adhering to office etiquette or playing truant, and we can also gauge if they are disciplined at work," Mokhtar said, adding that another 26 cameras will be set up soon.

Mokhtar's aide said he was busy with meetings Monday and could not be disturbed. Other officials could not comment on the report.

Mokhtar and Terengganu Chief Minister Idris Jusoh were among those with access to the surveillance tapes, The Star said.

Officials and workers interviewed by the newspaper praised the measure.

State Communications Unit deputy director Ruslan Abdul Rahman was quoted as saying the decision was "a brilliant idea," stressing that workers should "accept the move in a positive manner as this will actually encourage them to excel further."

Abdul Mubin Ismail, who works in the youth and sports department, told The Star that the move was "not to pinpoint our errors but to mold us into becoming more responsible." He added that the surveillance could also curb office politics and sexual harassment.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070611/ap_on_fe_st/malaysia_spying_on_staff