Malaysiakini Letter

Will BN or PR reform the civil service?

Concerned Citizen For Reform  |  Published:  |  Modified:

When we were children, our parents and elders use to give us good advice which are age-old wisdoms. One of the most common advice that we get from them is that when our parents or elders are talking to someone or in a conversation, we must not interrupt. We must wait for him or her to finish before we politely ask to be allowed to speak. Because of that we grew up to be polite and civilised people.

However, after reading of the police action during the Black 14 rally at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman in Kuala Lumpur, one starts to wonder or at least feel tickled by the policemen’s action (putting aside the dubious unlawful gathering claim). Anwar Ibrahim was delivering his speech when the police came in and interrupted his speech and asked him to stop.

We use to hear, correctly or otherwise, that the crowds who used to gather at rallies are ‘violent’ and need to be ‘controlled’ by the police. As such the police that night came in the thousands with their water cannons, batons and shields supposedly to break up ‘unruly’ or ‘violent’ crowds or whatever they call it.

But time and again, it has become more and more obvious that our policemen have been doing the opposite of their duties. They are more interested in creating trouble when there is none. Their real duty of protecting the public and society against violent crime seems to be more and more neglected. Now we hear of robbers getting bolder, so much so that KLIA, the so-called international award-winning airport can be robbed just like a stall on the street; and there was no policeman in sight (minus the fact of the part-time policemen who were shot in the leg).

Just imagine if a terrorist attacked is mounted during such a lapse of security - our airport security would be the laughing stock of the international community. Although there was a follow up press statement by the IGP of his intention to discuss the matter with the airport management which he claimed had not been responded to, that is not an excuse. Any reasonable person within the security department should have been prepared for such an event.

What is most agonising here in our country now is that the security people in our country seem to have forgotten their real duties. When people are congregating peacefully on a private property, they come in and interrupt. They stop speeches and chase the people away. They are really abusing their power by using it for their own ends. There are just like naughty children who don’t seem to understand civil manners. It has become a trend now that our policemen are still behaving like those in the underdeveloped world.

Our country seems to have advanced technologically but the mentality of our civil service is still undeveloped. Instead of being the people’s servant and being polite when serving the people, they are the ones who start to order the public around failing which the very needs of the public they serve will not be met. This is also part of the cause for corruption as people who require fast service can’t stand the slowness and inaction on the part of the civil service.

The police come early in the morning when it is most inconvenient to serve notices. They behave like warlords who order people around instead of being servants of the people. It looks like the present government who has been in power for too long has perpetuated a bossy civil service attitude. By giving them title after title while still in service, our civil service now demands respect irrespective of whether their job is done or not.

There is an urgent need for a government which can reform our civil service and start to get them to work for the people and not the other way around. The type of civil service that we have now is one that dumps their service onto the people. The top priority for reform will be the police force. Perhaps the Pakatan Rakyat will be the government that reforms our civil service.

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