PUNISH CIVIL SERVANTS FOR WRONGDOINGS: TI
by Husna Yusop
Civil servants have been given plenty of carrots, and it is now time to give them the stick, opines Transparency International-Malaysia (TI) president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam. The 1.2 million people serving the public sector must know they would be punished and disciplined for inefficiency, lack of commitment or poor performance, and they can be expelled for their wrongdoings, he said when commenting on the mission of Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, as reported in theSun last week.
Ramon said the major weaknesses in the civil service are corruption and the lack of accountability, as clearly seen from the Auditor-General’s Report. “They need to work as hard as their counter parts in the private sector, especially those at the lower levels of the public service,” he said. That is where the problem lies as “many tend to waste their time with the makan-minum, knitting and the gossiping”.
Voicing his admiration for Mohd Sidek’s pledge to end the days of politicians, their cronies and Little Napoleons acting as puppet masters of heads of local councils, Ramon said the effort must get full support from the civil service, politicians and leaders. “You cannot just depend on the chief secretary alone. Everyone must take the initiative and emulate him. Otherwise, he will be isolated. Senior officers must practise management by walking around.
Civil service must feel that ‘Big Brother’ is watching you. Otherwise, it (the effort) will not be sustained,” he said. Ramon, however, urged Mohd Sidek to provide quarterly reports to the public on the progress of his efforts and achievements. “People have the right to know. Otherwise, they can lose faith and confidence in the government,” he said.
“It is not only the Little Napoleons who should be blamed but also the ‘Big Napoleons – the ministers, mentris besar and chief ministers – who are also responsible and answerable to all Malaysians.”
He said Mohd Sidek was right by prioritising on the local authorities as they are at the front lines and nearest to the ground. “Local councils are most exposed to the public. Very few people go up to the ministries or state secretaries’ offi ces because they deal with simple things such as street lights, drains and garbage,” he said. “But, this should only be the beginning. He must move up as some departments are still not delivering.”
In some places, the clients’ charter had become a joke, he said. Ramon said he was positive there would be changes in the public sector but was quick to add that the government should not only change errant civil servants but also weak and corrupt local government officials and politicians.
“Get rid of them. This should set a better example for civil servants to follow,” he said.