Change not enough, civil service must be depoliticised
By Chua Jui Meng
OUR battle cry for CHANGE in the next general election is a necessity to check the socio-economic rot afflicting Malaysia.
But, is change enough to reverse Barisan Nasional (BN)’s 55 years of misrule and plundering of the national coffer and the country’s wealth?
I believe change must be followed up with real and drastic socio-economic transformation policies backed by a completely overhauled civil service.
Our unproductive civil service today is a creature encouraged by corrupt BN leaders and politicians.
BN’s politicising of the civil service has sucked individual civil servants from top to bottom levels to only concentrate on grabbing as much a share of the gravy train and the national coffer as possible.
The rot starts from the head, they say. It’s the executive’s pressure and corrupt practices that set the tone of the whole administration of the country.
Many in the civil service today are unhappy with the executive’s heavy hand in directing them to do things that are against public good.
Failure to follow instructions will be seen as disloyal, subjecting them to unfair action.
Officially, from Budget 2013, our federal debt is at RM502.4 billion or 1.3% short of the 55% legislated debt ceiling. Isn’t this too close for comfort? Isn’t it time for Malaysians to press the red button to stop the Umno-led BN?
Not included in Budget 2013’s federal debt calculation are RM118 billion in liabilities or sovereign guarantees for private corporations like the Port Klang Free Zone and government-linked company loans ending 2011.
And many believe the federal debt could be as high as RM800 billion, thereby breaching the federal debt ceiling. This figure was revealed by Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Mukhriz Mahathir in a report by TheEdge.
With Malaysia blessed with vast and rich natural resources, including oil and gas, our current economic standing, to say the least, is shameful.
Mounting debts and rising cost of essentials, with extremely slower wage and salary growths, are signs of a government losing control of the economy.
The corrupt BN government’s inability to increase national productivity is the key reason for slower wage and salary growth. With the dependence on borrowings to survive, it is now unable to sustain the subsidies on the essentials to help the poor and low-income groups.
This is obviously the cause of much discontent among the rural and urban poor, especially the majority of Malay villagers.
Sadly, the Umno-led BN, after 55 years of being returned to govern despite the open abuses of power and corrupt practices, has become arrogant, perpetuated by a false sense of invincibility.
Its continuous refusal to heed the rakyat’s call for justice, accountability, to fight corruption and forge peace and prosperity by uniting Malaysians as one, not pursuing racist policies which are alienating a large proportion of the populace.
Every government agency is now viewed by the public as a tool of the BN, exploited to serve BN’s political agenda and to intimidate the rakyat, especially political rivals.
You can clearly see this happening in the dispensing of justice. It is happening in the Royal Malaysian Police Force, the Judiciary, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and in all government enforcement agencies that wield power to intimidate the rakyat.
Therefore, should Malaysians make the historic decision to change the ruling government, one of the biggest challenges for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) must be to overhaul and raise the civil service’s professionalism, thereby enhancing productivity.
The civil service is not set up to serve the BN or PR.
The people’s mandate is for the politicians to govern and serve the rakyat. The civil service is to help the government of the day to administer and implement policies professionally to serve the rakyat.