Thursday, May 28, 2009

Malaysia’s Civil Service

Recently, the PM proposed to open the civil service to the private sector. When he was the Deputy Prime Minister, this idea was brought up by himself in the Cabinet for general discussion. He even suggested that leading corporate figures and retired government civil servants should also be co-opted into the academic world. Students in the tertiary education then stands to benefit from the rich experience from the captain of the industries and top civil servants. This is rightly practiced in many countries. In America, the retired Secretary of State always ends up in important academic position. Tapping the private sector makes sense since they know not only the theory, but also the practical aspect of implementation and problem in dealing with government agencies.

Mixing the private sector with the civil service hopefully will give rise to a better cross-fertilization of ideas and practices, which are sadly lacking in the government service. It will also give the private sector an insight into the constraint of the civil service and the government machineries. The government delivery system is often bogged down with bureaucracy and having to work within the rather rigid general orders of the civil service.

In Malaysia, there is a clear dichotomy of service between the private and public sectors. The moment they leave the civil service to join the private sector, they lose their seniority and hardly ever had a chance to go back to civil service. The Malaysia civil service provides employment from the cradle to the grave. It is difficult to sack a civil servant, unless there are clear violations of the general orders. Hence, we have a lot of dead woods warming the seats. Some become what we call the little Napoleons and Josephines. They do not become facilitators to help the public. They do not serve the Rakyat but Lord over them. They construct all sorts of man-made barriers to make an average man dealing with the government with a bad taste. Bad civil service reflects poorly on the government of the day. Often, it is the politicians who stand for public office that gets the blame.

We have a bloated civil service of nearly 1.15 millions. With a population of 27million people, we have one of the higher ratios of civil servant to population. Despite aggressive privatization in the early 90s, the numbers of civil servant keep on increasing slowly but surely. The rising maintenance cost of the civil service is a major problem, about 41 billion a year. The biggest problem is inefficiency in the public delivery system. Since civil service provides lifelong employment, there seems to be ‘tidak apa’ attitude by some civil servants. Over the year, it has becomes the budaya or culture of these small group of civil servants. They obviously serve to damage the image of the public delivery system. To be fair, there are a lot of civil servants who are very good, professional and dedicated. Unfortunately, over the year this is getting smaller. While I was in the government, from the state to the federal level, I met some of these civil servants who will do the country proud, at the same time I also met a lot who don’t deserved a cent worth for their work.

Walk into any government office one is strike by the predominance of one ethnic group.

These ethnic imbalances get more glaring over the years. Today, about 77% of the government servants are Malays, only 15% are non-Malays and the others contribute 8%. To ratify this imbalance would take decades. Of course when this is raised, some will point out that the private sector is also dominated by one particular race. When the private sector places emphasis of the command of Mandarin, this is construed as discriminatory.

Remuneration cannot be a reason for the lack of interest for the civil service by the non-Malays. In fact, in some of the government services, the total package remuneration is not too bad when compared to the private sector. In order to attract the brightest and the committed, promotion should be based on performance and qualification, and not by who you know within the service. Right now, the general perception is that the government service is only for the Malays and the non-Malays have no chance in career advancement within the civil service. Until we show more transparency and professionalism in recruitment and promotion of civil servant, it is unlikely that we will attract the brightest. The non-Malays will continue to shun the civil service.

首相纳吉最近建议将政府部门的重要职位,开放给私人企业界人才。之前他出任副首相时,也曾把这项建议带到内阁讨论。纳吉甚至认为,商界翘楚及退休公务员也应被学术界重用,高等教育学府的学生可以从在商界长袖善舞的企业翘楚,及经验丰富的高级公务员身上受惠。其实,很多国家都有这么做。在美国,退休后的国务卿受委出任重要的学术职位。其实,这项构思有其意义,因为私企界人士不仅是纸上谈兵,他们有很多实际经验,也懂得如何与各政府单位打交道。混合私人界与公共服务领域的做法,固然希望能达到更好的相互交流及实践效益,而这向来是公共服务领域所缺乏的。这么做也可以让私人界深入了解公务服务领域和政府机制既存的限制弊端。政府传递系统常因为官员的官僚作风及行事刻板而造成怠慢。


在马来西亚,私人界与公共机构的服务明显不同。公务员离开政府机构加入私人界后,很难再返回公共服务领域。马来西亚的公务服务制度是雇用公务员到老;基本上并不会辞退公务员,除非他们严重违反既定条例或守则。因此我们这里有很多“朽木”霸占着位子,其中一些就变成我们所形容的小拿破仑。这些人无法帮助公众,不服务人民,却制造各种人为障碍,导致人民对政府机构服务的印象不好。其实,公共服务差劣也反映当下政府的效率。通常,那些担任公职的从政者成为箭靶,遭人责难。


我国的公务员有近115万人,是一支庞大的队伍。以2千700万人口计算,我国的公务员人口比率高于人口比率。虽然我国在90年代初期积极进行私营化,但公务员数据一直不断攀升。公共服务领域维持成本不断上升是政府的大问题。目前,公共服务领域的年度开销大约410亿令吉,却无法提供有效的公共传递系统。由于这是终身制的铁饭碗,一些公务员有恃无恐,造就了“无所谓”工作态度,甚至已成为一小撮公务员的工作文化。他们简直是在破坏公共传递系统的形象。公平而言,还是有很多优秀、专业及有担待的公务员。但不幸的是,这样优质的公务员越来越少。当我还在政府部门任职,不论是在州或中央机构,我偶曾遇到一些令国家自豪的公务员,也同时碰到工作态度非常糟糕、不值得一提的公务员。

今天,走进任何一个政府机构办事处,你会看到某个族群主占大多数。此种族比率失衡的情况近年来更严重。目前,约77%公务员是马来人,只有15%是非马来人,其他则占8%。我国或许需要数十年时间才能把这种失衡现象纠正过来。当然,当有人提出这问题时,一些人会说私人界其实也是由某个族群主导;私人界着重中文掌握的政策,也即被诠释为歧视。


薪酬劳并不是导致非马来人没有兴趣当公务员的因素。事实上,一些政府部门的薪酬总额不会比私人界差。为了可以吸引有素质及负责任的人才,当局应该根据个人的表现和资格进行擢升,而不是靠所谓的人际关系决定晋级命运。现在,一般认为公共服务是为了马来人而设,非马来人根本没有发展空间。要吸引有素质的人,我们要在录用及擢升制度方面透明化及专业化,否则非马来人将一直对公共服务领域却步。

13 comments:

joenathan said...

Dr Chua,

There are some bunch of bumi drs who are PSD scholarship holders,and were educated in Australia,whining and complaining all the time just because they have to serve the govt for 10 yrs.And these are the people who were sent abroad,using tax payers money..Are you aware that many of them try to get posted to non-clinical departments,to have an easy life?Do you think,these people have an aptitude to become doctors and serve the sick with dedication?I am sure,you are aware of all these facts when you were the health minister,but you chose to close one eye.Now you are talking about,civil service?Tell us what you intend to do,to improve it?That is what the public want to hear,not just ranting away.

LBP said...

The much awaited PKFZ report (probably the biggest ever financial scandals) has just been released today !!!! - Dr. Chua, dare you write something to critise the BN government and touch your beloved Tun Ling/ BN backbencher club president?

BN is even far more inefficient and corrupted than we could imagine !!!(may be the content of the report has already been diluted in terms of its intensity to hide certain names...sigh)

Dr Chua, can u show us your usual courage by issuing a statement in questioning BN's integrity on this? Please respond. We young people like to hear what BN/MCA has to say (especially this scandals involved MCA Tai-kor like Ling Liong Sik, Chan Kong Choy etc)

WHAT A CRAP!!!! if Rakyat are not awaken by this stupid scandals and SIN committed by Barisan Nasional/MCA I am really speechless!!! When it comes to petrol/diesel subsidies, school fund allocation, public healthcare, small by-election in Penanti etc etc - BN said government has no money, we must tighten our belt, be thrifty and bla bla bla all the craps.....now they have wasted so much of our money for its cronies(ASTRONOMICAL FIGURE!!!!!!!!) - BN is not fit to govern this country any more!!!!!

Dr Chua, you should jump ship if you still want to serve the Rakyat as you claim!

kenny said...

Dear Datuk Seri.

The title should be Malaysia's Uncivil Service. I believe any civil servant deserve his or her pay at all. Because of The Policy, the Incivil Service has employed the dregs of the employment market and the un-employables.

The politicians have created this monster. It is high time this monster get dismantled.

donplaypuks® said...

Dear YB

At $41 billion per year, I'm sure there's a lot of fat there in the Civil Service that can be trimmed.

What we need is a lean and mean fighting machine that is as efficient as Singapore and professionally respecetd as that of France.

Before establishing KPI's, we should determine the CS staff strength for a country of our size and population with a buitt in growth factor for future needs.

Otw, the future wage and pension cost, not to mention subsidies on health, transport and welfare will truly bankrupt M'sia!!

Why not MCA get a Parliamentary Committee going on this?
http://donplaypuks.blogspot.com

tc88 said...

Very well said.

In Malaysia, the best brains and most capable seem to shy away from the civil service, opting for the private sector or become entrepreneurs. Why? Is it because the private sector pays better? On the surface, it appears to be so. However when you input the pension and medical benefits entitlement, the latter including the spouse, then the overall compensation package offered in the civil service is comparable, particularly when 20 to 30% of the package is not taxable or taxed on a benefits-in-kind status.

If not compensation, then why do the best brains and most capable shun the civil service?

In Japan, the best graduates and brains choose to join the civil service with the MITI and Ministry of Finance their top choices. In Singapore, the Government taps the best, talented, proven and experienced for top jobs in the civil service and to serve as MPs or Ministers. Lee Kuan Yew called it "national service". That the Malaysian economy lagged behind Japan and Singapore is probably capable malaysians opt to work overseas or the private sectors. Both Japan and Singapore lacked the natural resources Malaysia has, yet the Yen has risen to thrice the value of the ringgit in less than 25 years. The Singapore dollar is almost 2.5 times the ringgit, yet we were once the same country.

Why? It certainly does not take a genious or an Einstein or a Dr M to figure that out. Ah Chong, Ali and Samy knows the answer. We only choose to ignore it.

TC 88

呉 和豪 said...

Saudara DatoSeri Chua Sua Lek

也请马华公会总会长,署理会长, 有关的部长,国会议员,州议员关注彭亨劳勿武吉公满[山埃事件] TOLONG TOLONG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOUVkcSVu2U

南洋閩學網誌 said...

Saudara DrChua Soi Lek

Since you started the blog you have not mentioned about the kampong Koman cynide issue which have attention from Malaysia as well as abroad.
You ask the chief of Public Service bureau, Have you brought up the case to MP of Raub or not.

In my opinion the minister in charge of tourism should be sensitive to this issue, as we are now promoting ecotourism , health and medical tourism .
If the situation go out of control ,it is going to impair our effort in promoting ecotourism , health and medical tourism .

One of the residents in Kampong Koman had ever worked in hospital made the following coment on public servant

They are not working for mine ,they are working for people , Datok HO KA MUN dont simply say, checking the cynide level without using instrument

they are not coming here for holiday.
This

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOUVkcSVu2U


"The biggest problem is inefficiency in the public delivery system. Since civil service provides lifelong employment, there seems to be ‘tidak apa’ attitude by some civil servants. Over the year, it has becomes the budaya or culture of these small group of civil servants. They obviously serve to damage the image of the public delivery system."

Low C. W. said...

that is why government in the past has increased the salary and benefit for public servant which is now almost compatible to private sectore! ask how much a teacher (fresh) earn in total? Not to surprise that a fresh graduate may not get so much in private sector. So believe the main reason is now on the fairness of year end appraisal and promotion disregard of races. Can the BN government ensure this in the year to come?

呉 和豪 said...

Saudara Dato Seri DrChua Soi Lek

I sincerely ask you to talk on Kampung Bukit Koman cyanide issue to the following reasons in your capacity as MCA head of bureau of monitoring of public services
i) Dato Subramaniam , human resources minister ,ii)Dato Ng Yen Yen ,the minister of tourism who is also the MP for Raub
iii)Minister of science and environment.iv)Other relevant public service officers
According Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994(OSHA1994), cynide is classified as toxic substance under toxic substance schedule. Moreover it is the duty of the plant safety inspector appointed by the ministry of human resources to carry ou investigation upon receiving complain from public about safety hazard of a concerenrd plant. It is also the duty of the inspector concerned to give order for the concerned plant to improve the condition within a specified duration ,if the plant concerned failed to comply ,then that plant need to stop operation until problems are fixed.
It is also the duty of MP of Raub to TURUN KE PADANG(go to the real spot)to listen to the grievance of the people in the constituency she serve to help to solve their problem

I sincerely ask you to communicate with officers of the ministry of science and environment , because we canot discount the possibility of river pollution caused by cyanide discharged that may affect the growth of fauna and flora in the place.
Thank you and Best Regard

Anonymous Says said...

If retired government civil servants lived through those times and they did not show anything in their service that is extraordinary in relation to the present time, why should they come back into the service ? If they come back, they will only be bringing with them what they already know. Their experiences of years ago. Some of these experiences can be bad to others. If they themselves were not good leaders then, they would not be good leaders now. They will be a hindrance to others. Bring back those with a vision for the future. Bring back those who give opportunity to everyone and not selected few. Malaysia does not have to follow all the ways of U.S. because if she does, she will also follow her way into bankruptcy. A leader who believes in war will find it hard to talk about peace. There are many great ideas in the government service but these ideas are not followed through. Just when someone sets a higher standard, someone else is ever ready to lower the standard. It is hard to keep track of the near 1.2 million civil servants across the country. There are so much hanky panky when the boss is not around. Not all the civil servants have this don't care attitude. Some care but they are influenced into not caring. Some never care from the first day they enter the service. Some care consistently. Some care but they are too rigid. Cronyism and neopotism are still practised. It is ridiculous promoting or awarding one that is so undeserving but because of the ties that she has. But this sort of practise still goes on. Some of these wrong practises are so obvious. So obvious that the boss prefers to remain blind and refuse to rectify the mistake. And these are not necessarily the senior ones. The junior ones learn how to play office politics too. The clever people want to join the service but everytime, the offer letter goes to someone not so clever. Why ? Because of religion ? Because of race ? Because of helping their own folks ? Because small Napoleons and small Josephines are pulling the strings which the boss never suspects ? Never underestimate small people. They can sabotage. Bosses never deals with paperwork. It is their small people who are doing that. Unless the government decides one fine day to stop all these traditions, then may be we will see a real improvement in the public service. JPA cannot be only telling the civil servants to work properly. They should make sure and see to it that these civil servants actually work and work properly.

呉 和豪 said...

Saudara Dato Seri Chua Soi Lek


Once again I ask you to follow up
on Cyanide Issue in Bukit Kampong Koman in Raub Pahang

根据我从国际网络所得到的消息,彭亨州劳勿属下的武吉公满新村的村民非常希望劳勿的国会议员到当地视察,以了解“山埃采金”对当地居民所引起的种种民生问题,同时为他们解决问题。
山埃是一种作为工业用途的化学品,它的用途包括了采金,电镀,热处理及洗涤。
1994年的“职业安全及卫生法令”有把山埃列为“有毒的化学物”,山埃的使用也受到“环境保护法令”所管治。使用“山埃”的作业者必须备有良好的废料处理设备,以确保工厂所排出的水,废气及固体废料不含有某个PPM的山埃。
笔者过去曾在槟城Bayan Lepas一间电镀担任品质稽查员(QA Auditor),对于空气或废水山埃浓渡过高的事件绝不软手,一旦发现山埃浓度极高必下令工厂停止操作,直到工厂的操作环境恢复正常为止。
山埃浓度过高可引起严重的疾病如呼吸困难、皮肤病、败血症、癌症。为此我希望各造包括拿督黄燕燕、人力资源部、科学环境部、卫生部门及彭亨州的地方政府,还有当地使用山埃采金的公司关注民生,重视人命、人权,共同合力解决因“使用山埃”采金而引起的种种民生问题。

呉 和豪 said...

Dr.chua
从电视银幕看到 无情的[神手]在短短几分钟把数间为于增江淡峇漢的木屋铲平,使这里居住40多
年的居民失去房屋,也使这个地方从此改观,不禁令人心痛。我们不能否认市政府有权利征地发
展公共设施,但我们也不能否定居民的生存权利。一个理想的公共设施发展计划应该是在没有牺
牲居名的生存权利之下进行,在安顿居民之后才展开,这样才能够给人体会到[以民为先]的施政
作风。 我不难了解当地居民对于他们家园的情感及执着, 因为他们用了很多功夫才能在这块原
本是废矿地建立家园。在这里居住的居民包括了来自各阶层的工人, 小贩,小型工业者,他们对
于当地及吉隆玻社会经济发展是有贡献的。所以市镇局,发展商,相关的政府部门,应给予他们
足够的赔赏及援助,使他们能够有地方居住及继续作业。

呉 和豪 said...

Dr.Chua
根据报导逾90名煤炭山小園主38年來僅需繳交100令吉地稅,豈料去年收到士拉央市議會來函,
要小園主每年需繳付逾千令吉門牌稅,引起小園主極度不滿和怒吼!这个是“以民为先”的施政
的作风吗?我记得在大选的时候民聯以[與民同在] ,[以民为先],[为马来西亚带来新希望]等的
宣传来争取人民的支持,馬來西亞人民已經給民聯機會在五個州執政﹐他們應該以實際行動向人民證實他們的诚心及實力。由人民委托民聯執政的州当中四個州是主要的稻米生產的地方。
但民聯没有握機會帮助這4州的農民增加稻產﹐使我國能達至白米及其他粮食自供自足的目
標。反而作出对农民不利的事件,行动與口號,背道而馳。
自308以来民聯實權領袖拿督安華衣佈拉欣 就是在忙于制造補選,夺权的游戏而似乎忘了他
们的承诺。在短短的一年半之间,政策大有改变,地税暴增10倍不利于农业生产.实行不稳定政策的州政府属于稳定的州政府吗。

Welcome to my Blog

As a concerned MCA member, I am trying my best to help in the process of rebuilding and repositioning of the party.

Therefore, I welcome party members and members of public to post your constructive suggestions and opinions on my blog on how to rebuild and reform the party, eventually enabling MCA to regain support from all party members and the community.


Thank you for your suggestions.