Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: The ‘civil service’ tail should not wag the dog

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YOURSAY | ‘Trust deficit or not, Harapan still needs to clean up the civil service.’

Daim to gov't: Start trusting civil service workforce or you'll be 'dead'

David Dass: Former Council of Eminent Persons chairperson Daim Zainuddin says that the Pakatan Harapan administration must learn to start trusting the civil service for the sake of its own longevity, amid Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s earlier claim of sabotage.

Ministers must engage with civil servants. Not all civil servants are corrupt. Most hardworking civil servants are not even in jobs where corruption is possible.

The new government may want to work at a different pace, and perhaps in a different manner that they think is more efficient. They must sell their ideas to the civil servants.

The ministers cannot approach civil servants with the attitude that they cannot be trusted. They can initiate changes. But be patient. Most of them are decent and will work as hard as required.

Regardless, overstaffing sometimes produces bottlenecks and inefficiencies. That will take time to resolve. Be gentle, sensitive and kind to them. In time, they will respond positively.

Justice: Mahathir was only referring to some civil servants out to sabotage the Harapan government, not all of them.

Of course, corrupt civil servants love corrupt leaders because birds of a feather flock together. These civil servants benefitted personally by pocketing public funds from government projects, subsidies and grants.

How can Daim ask Harapan to work with such parasites when they pose a danger to the country’s finances?

Fair Play: The civil service is an ‘old boys network’. They protect one another, even after they have retired.

No doubt the top echelon of the civil service is beholden to their previous master, Umno, simply because they knew no other master for 60 years.

At present, they are still watching whether the Harapan government will last. The ‘realignment’ or transfer of allegiance will start slowly, and if Harapan is still in power after the 15th general election, the higher echelon will quicken the pace to adapt to the ‘new master’ as they are career civil servants.

Like career politicians, they want to retire with a higher pension.

Durian: The civil servants want the new government or ministers to trust them but on their own terms.

Even the thousands of pensioners – of all races – want the good old days of freebies and entitlements to continue and increase.

In this article, for instance, we can see a retired Chinese chartered accountant with three grown-up children complaining about his retired pensioner wife not getting subsidised bone supplements.

All in all, there are easily three million current and retired civil servants and their families with no performance appraisals feeding on public money.

The gigantic size created by over 60 years of BN rule is a powerful vote bank, but an ineffective and complacent workforce. Guarantee of bonuses is common. Who pays? The same people who complain about the lazy civil service.

Harapan’s biggest mistake is this juggling act of trying to please everyone. It will surely end in failure. Just like the matriculation issues – increasing the overall numbers to solve the problem was a big mistake.

Of course, every politician, including Daim himself back in the day, had a ‘magic wand’.

Do we really expect Malaysia to be rescued from the corruption of the BN government when an entire population has been trained to look forward to freebies?

Come what may, this new government should just focus on rescuing future generations, instead of winning the next election.

Mahathir is demonstrating this vision but is being obstructed by a greedy, lazy and stupid populace with self-serving politicians – the foundations of which, unfortunately, were created by him and Abdul Razak Hussein.

Prudent: Daim is saying that the tail can wag the dog. It could only do so if it is Umno’s civil service.

So they must be gotten rid of, well before GE15.

But don’t forget, it was Daim who opened the floodgates to recruiting civil servants in the 1980s regardless of need. That was to shore up political support for ketuanan Melayu policies.

Cocomomo: The reality is that life was much easier for these civil servants under BN. There were far more opportunities to make money. Harapan should identify the key corrupt ones and sack them.

It is understandable for Harapan ministers to have a lack of trust in these civil servants. However, they should learn to work with the honest ones and have confidence and trust in them, especially those in the lower ranks.

Susahkes: Daim, when was the last time you tried calling a government department during office hours? Did you get through within a reasonable time?

Sure, it's a legacy problem, created by Umno who thought, like Thanos, that they would rule the Bolehland universe in perpetuity.

So, instead of merely asking the Harapan government to trust the civil servants, you should also ask the government to put in place a culture of excellence. A change of mindset. Of course, it takes time, but you better begin somewhere.

Unless that prediction that Malaysia will one day be exporting maids to other countries just comes true.

Amateur: Look at the Rantau by-election. Harapan got less than 10 percent of the vote from uniformed personnel.

Now, Daim is suggesting that Harapan kowtow to civil servants to fish for their votes. In other words, proposing that Harapan be held to ransom by government servants.

Daim should have scolded those complaining to him over the trust deficit. Perhaps the majority of them are not happy, as Harapan clamps down on corrupt practices which inevitably affects their income adversely.

This has been highlighted by Mahathir. Many have been spoilt by the ‘I help you, you help me’ culture. They never realised that their offspring would have to bear their malpractices

.If a 'hire and fire' system is adopted like in the private sector, I doubt any civil servant would dare sabotage the government.

Procul Harum: Indeed, if we start talking about wooing votes from civil servants, then we can forget about ever getting rid of graft.

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