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Sakmongkol ak 47

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Monday, 12 May 2014

In Conversation with Mr J- a retired non Malay civil servant



Some years back, while I was still an UMNO Adun, I attended a meeting with Tan Sri Raymond Navaratnam. He was invited by the Pahang MB to talk on his Winds of Change. At that time, his book Winds of Change was the rage among BN Mps. It was a mark of some kind of infantile intellectual achievement for any UMNO member who quotes Nava’s Wind of Change in his speeches.
That meeting was held at the MB’s official residence. Many government officers serving in the state attended too. Navaratnam gave his run through on the management of government. He recalled the days when he served Tun Razak with pride and when civil servants were small in number and served with dedication and pride. To be a civil servant was the epitome of success. During Navaratnam’s time, the civil service probably numbered around 300. By the early 70’s it has swelled to perhaps around 500-600. It was small made up of qualified and talented people of all races.
During the QnA session I stood up and asked Navartanam. Would he agree to the general perception that the quality of our civil service, especially of our civil service leadership began to drop, when the government embarked on indiscriminate malaynisation of our civil service?
The poor man was at a loss to answer. All the while he was saying things that were politically correct. Until today, I consider Navartnam’s take on several issues in Malaysia to be a safe passage trip through the ocean of unpredictable storm.
The reason why I am telling readers this story is to contrast the substance which Raymond Nava spoke with the opinions of an ex civil servant whom I met yesterday. Let us call him Mr J, a non-Malay ex civil servant. He is a graduate from University of Singapore- a Malaysian born and bred in Kuala Lumpur. Born at the Batu 15 as Brickfields was known in the early days. He lived somewhere near where the Pine is now in Brickfields.
One of the subjects we talked about was the quality of our civil service. I put it to him that for a government to function efficiently we need a cadre and corps of quality civil servants. This quality I proposed can only be achieved, if we liberalise the civil service so that more non Malays join. In that way we induce some competition either at entry level and during service.
 I suggested that during his time, where non Malays made up quite a number of civil servants, the quality of the civil service was considerable. I mentioned names like the Bentong native Tan Sr Tong, Patmanabhan, Rama Iyer, Ramond Navaratnam himself. I said how I wish the civil service would recreate the glory days when we had icons like Ghazali Shafhie who served as permanent secretary, Zain Azrai the Cambridge educated who spoke with impeccable English.
And I repeated my remark that the quality of our civil service went down when its filled up predominantly by Malays. Even though Malays are reputed to be born administrators I said, the government’s willingness to compromise on quality and emphasis on quantity has led to the lowering of the overall quality. When a job can be done by one fellow, now it must be completed by a committee.
Mr J gave some very pointed views. His firs statement was it actually does not matter if the entire civil service is made up of Malays as long as the service is peopled with highly qualified people. It does not matter provided the civil service is run on two important principles which we were imbued early in our careers- the principle of impartiality and neutrality. I was taught this early in my training by some of the ablest and honest Malay civil servants. When I served as department head- continued Mr J- I learned my trade from a Malay chief clerk (cc) who was in charge of the entire budgeting of the department. This chap knows more about financial management than most of the greenhorns fresh from university and colleges. Now his kind of job is carried out by an entire army.
The two principles should be the guiding force for all civil servants. (1) Impartiality and (2) neutrality. That was why I was shocked when on the second day Ali Hamsa took over as Chief Secretary; he issued a statement that civil servants must not listen to the opposition lawmakers. That was unprofessional. I wrote a letter to him asking him whether he has forgotten civil service 101- to always maintain neutrality and impartiality. Ali Hamsa has shown his hand- that is the bane affecting most civil servants. They compromise their professionalism and succumb to the political masters.
Isn’t that being true to the rule that civil servants must be loyal to the government of the day?
Indeed they should and must but only in so far as that loyalty does not violate the civil service rules, the laws of the land, the general orders, the principles of neutrality and impartiality.
We have 1.4 million civil servants now I said. That’s breaking up our finances.
That’s because it is the government’s vote bank. Plus the civil service has taken up the role of last resort employment agency. Otherwise where will the school leavers go? It’s like Parkinson’s Law in operation on our civil service- work expands to fill up the time available becomes workers increase to fill up the space created. That space was created when Mahathir took over.
Then there are too many cabinet positions. We should be scaling down the number of cabinet posts and ministries and the civil service will follow suit.
There are many more things I can learn from Mr J. certainly I will be meeting up with him more often.

17 comments:

Anonymous,  12 May 2014 at 10:06  

Now we have a UMNO Malay Civil Service that services UMNO.
It is a recruitment agency for the lazy, unemployable graduates and UMNO-obedient Malays who earn their keep by contributing mediocrity.
The boss will never take severe actions against his subordinates because "we are all of the same race and I won't destroy your rice bowl."
It is a service to amass illegal wealth. It is a Service that has lost its Malayness and Islamic soul.
Come on, any Chinese businessman will tell you how to deal with the so-called religious Malays in JAKIM to get that HALAL logo on their biscuits, coffee, sweets and even drinking water.
Yes, even drinking water needs to have that HALAL logo.
Now one achieves religious purity by consuming HALAL stuff, never mind that sex parties, 4-D, alcohol and corruption.
See how those who wallow in sex and alcohol act as defenders of religion in UMNO and the Civil Service.
These Malay Civil Servants who serve in the religious departments as muftis, and defenders of the law close their eyes to UMNO's shenanigans.
Look at the quality of the UMNO-servant State Secretary Ali Hamka and you will know the quality of the Malays Civil Service.

Anonymous,  12 May 2014 at 10:07  

To have such a bloated and duplcative Civil Service at the expanse and continuing burden to tax payers is simply criminal. Najib said he must have the GST to finance these and generally corrupt and lazy Civil Service. They are continuing to be a cost burden until the are buried.
The size of the political machinery for a small nation of less tahn 30 million is absurd.We have thirteen state ovesized governments.They all should be abolished.The number of Minister in PM is bigger than the size of US or Australian Cabinet. There a umber of parasitic institutions kept the expanse of poor Malaysian peasants.

Anonymous,  12 May 2014 at 12:31  

This is one of the reason why UMNO/BN idiots want to secure the Malay votes.

Anonymous,  12 May 2014 at 13:28  

Mr J is correct. Now most job needs a committee to work on.
At one govt place I worked [I couldn't stand it and left] one clerk was in change of just filing letters! Another was just in charge of collecting claim forms and letters!

SARAVANAN RAJAGOPAL 12 May 2014 at 17:25  

I believe the late Tan Sri Zain Azraai was OXFORD educated...the first Malay in fact

Anonymous,  12 May 2014 at 18:04  

100% agree with you Dato. If you look at our local university, the situation is even worse. The promotion of the university lecturers for the past ten years was based on the QUANTITY of the papers published but not on the QUALITY though. And, if you look at the trend now many lecturers (even so called Associate Professors and Professors) sent their papers to BOGUS journals (all of these journals are money oriented and the publishers that you never heard of) and top management of the university don't even care to check the credibility all of these journals and publishers. That is why the ranking of our local universities went down so badly. It is pretty sad, isn't it? The Ministry of Education needs to do something over this really.

Anonymous,  12 May 2014 at 18:34  

What is most worrying are the judicial officers in the legal and judicial services. The service is dominated by average intelligent malays; and so are the malays in the judiciary. That is one reason why Mahathir could manipulate and control the AG Chambers and the Judges.

You look at most of the malay senior Judges in the judiciary then, most of them are grade 3 MCE holders having worked their way up first by becoming court interpreters.

And most of the malay students who takes up law are the academically average malay students. The most smart and intelligent malays took up engineering, medical studies and other professional fields. You need very average result to take up law. That is why you find many stupid malay Judges on the Bench.

bruno 12 May 2014 at 20:52  

Once upon a time Malaysian took it as prestige working in the civil service.Form V and V1 students who do not enroll for higher education head for open interviews held by MAS,resulting in lines miles long.That was once upon a time ago.

During that time there were many Chinese and Indian graduates from MU,holding high positions in many gomen departments.Even during Mahathir's time,most of the number two spots in gomen departments were held by Chinese and Indians too.Today?

Sumpitan Emas,  12 May 2014 at 23:12  

Leaving the discussion about the quality of the civil service aside for the moment, allow me to mention very briefly the lack of recognition by our government of the contributions of selfless men and women who have contributed so much to public life.

Does anyone, especially from the powers that be, care to know who Hj Zainal Abidin Safarwan is, in respect of literary scholarship?

He is the author and compiler of three Malay dictionaries including the “Kamus Besar Bahasa Melayu” published by Utusan in 1995. This 2196-page dictionary, the most comprehensive of the three, led him to be proclaimed on 20 Jan 1994 “Wira Perkamusan Melayu (Hero of Malay Lexicography)” by the Linguistik Association of Malaysia, and also “Tokoh Perkamusan Melayu (Master of Malay Lexicography)” by the Language and Literary Bureau (DBP).

Nothing except ‘Haji’ precedes his name. If he had been awarded a datukship, that is not made apparent anywhere, not in any publication that I have come across, nor in Wikipedia.

Without trying to show any disrespect to you - your achievements and contributions are well-known, I want to express my disgust and dismay for some of those who are similarly addressed as Datuk, worse because they have earned a datukship before the age of thirty. Like in the earlier years when the civil service had the best and the brightest no one I can remember was a Datuk below the age of forty.

One can only weep at the sight of an enfeebled Malaysia, diminished by a determined crowd of ‘deconstructionists’, for lack of a better term.

In my next thread tomorrow, I shall write, rather, quote extensively, another category of ‘diminishing’ artistes, men who have reduced the sum total what we all thought differentiated us from the rest of the nations in this region, except perhaps with Singapore – our schools and the pursuit of academic excellence, civil service probity, judicial independence and rectitude, etc.

How many men or women like Hj Zainal Abidin Safarwan, unrecognised and unappreciated in meaningful ways, are still around, I don’t know. How many thieves, thugs, gamblers, operators of illicit casinos, ah longs/money-lenders, etc., have a Datuk in front of their name, I don’t know, and I don’t care. All I know is our civil service is not going to improve anytime soon, but men like Hj Zainal Abidin Safarwan will always to be close to my heart and the hearts of all my good friends who appreciate men of scholarship and learning.

bruno 13 May 2014 at 02:01  

Dato,why is it that Rafidah said when interviewed by the Star that persons who called themselves Malays first and Malaysian second are stateless people.

Is Rafidah referring to Mr Muhyiddin as unqualified for the DPM's post and therefore a slap in the face for Mr Moo.

bruno 13 May 2014 at 02:14  

Datuk,former Trengannu MB and another adun has quit Umno.Now it is a tie at 15 all.A couple more frogs and Trengganu reverts back to PAS.

Najib better do some damage control pretty fast with carrots of ambassadorship or chairmanship in GLC's if he do not want to risk losing Trengannu too.

Have the cows finally come home?

Sumpitan Emas,  13 May 2014 at 07:44  

1/2
Let me get back to mediocrity and decline, and let it be known I am not going anywhere because I speak and write better Malay than more than half of those in PERKASA and ISMA; this is the only boast I have made since retiring and one I am forced to make in light of seditious hollering by individuals who seem to have a free hand in making utterly provocative statements.
The following is a commentary by an academician who gives a grim account of what is happening lately in Malaysian academia, that of the ‘free-riding’ head of department whom he derisively labels ‘pembonceng gratis’, i.e. the ‘pillion-rider who rides for free’, aka the head who has his name affixed to any and every academic paper produced under his watch, even in fields totally unrelated to his specialisation. This commentary came under the ‘Rencana’ column with sub-title ‘Perspective’ and entitled, “Kegiatan ‘boncengan gratis’ hakis kesarjanaan dan hikmah university,” by Prof A Murad Merican in Utusan Malaysia, 4 Aug 2011; the complete comment:

“Universiti di Malaysia kehilangan hikmah. Akhir-akhir ini kita lihat university merestui ‘pemboncengan gratis’ di kalangan ahli akademik. Jika tidak membonceng dalam kegiatan penyelidikan dan penerbitan, mereka dianggap sebagai tidak normal.

Tiba-tiba kita terlihat banyak nama yang menulis pada sesuatu karya. Perkara itu tidak salah. Tetapi jika nama-nama itu tidak ada kaitan intelektual dengan bidang atau tema yang dibincangkan, bagaimana kita mengukur hasilnya?

Walaupun kajian dan penulisan antara disiplin digalakkan, perlu ada teguran jika ia disalahgunakan. Ramai ahli university yang telah salah tafsir konsep dan falsafah penglibatan kepelbagaian disiplin dalam sesuatu projek kajian.

Jika nama-nama itu hanya dikenali dengan kepakaran bahasa dan kemungkinan besar hanya menyunting sesuatu hasil penulisan, apakah namanya layak berkampung sekali?

Kadang-kadang seseorang ketua jabatan meminta namanya diletakkan sebagai penulis bersama kepada penulisan yang tidak ada kaitan dengan bidangnya.

Asalkan tindakan itu dapat memberi markah kepada semua terbabit, dapat dicatat dalam kuriculum vitae dan dinilai untuk kenaikan pangkat, ia ‘restui’ oleh semua yang terbabit.

Tanggapan sedemikian merupakan satu masalah amat besar yang melanda pandangan alam university kea rah ‘prestasi yang cemerlang.’

Pemerhatian Prof Muhammad Syukri Salleh (Utusan Malaysia, 20 Julai 2011), dan prof Madya Mohamad Md Yusof (Utusan Malaysia, 26 Julai 2011), ke atas gejala budaya material yang menular di university amat menakutkan. Jika ini tidak ditangani, akan pupuslah kesarjanaan di Malaysia.

Ini ada kaitannya dengan bagaimana university kita dipaparkan dan ditonjolkan kepada dunia. Tidak kira university awam atau swasta, terlihat semacam kegilaan yang menyesatkan.

Ini ada kaitannya dalam penonjolan keakraban universiti dengan industri dan profesion. Universiti kita kini nampaknya tidak mempedulikan etika dan tatasusila dalam kerjasama, pemasaran dan pengiklanan university dan tawaran kursus yang ada. Jika kajian rambang dilakukan, pihak industrilah yang ‘dipertuhankan.’

Universiti tidak boleh ‘diindustrikan’. Malangnya inilah yang sedang berlaku apabila ahli akademik membonceng, sama ada dalam projek penyelidikan atau penerbitan, di mana hasil karya dan penulisan seseorang itu diukur dengan kaedah nombor, kerana kaedah inilah yang paling mudah.

Nampaknya, banyak masa terbuang dengan menumpukan kepada cadangan menulis dan mendapatkan pembiayaan penyelidikan, dan menyiapkan laporan penyelidikan. Ada yang menerbitkannya dan ada yang tidak. Akan tetapi apakah menerbitkan hasil penyelidikan yang dibiayai itu satu bukti pencapaian dan pemaparan kesarjanaan?

Kita lupa hikmah yang perlu ada pada universiti. Nilai jauhari terhakis dalam diri kita sehinggakan kita tidak lagi mengenal manikin. Kita tidak tahu menilai idea, konsep dan teori.

Sumpitan Emas,  13 May 2014 at 07:45  

2/2
Saya khuatir jika gejala ini berlarutan tanpa kekangan, maka hapuslah kesarjanaan di Malaysia. Yang ada hanya kilang-kilang mengeluarkan ijazah hasil dari para pensyarah yang taksub kepada model Pengajaran Berasaskan Hasil (OBE) yang tidak boleh mengukur nilai dan kepercayaan.

Pensyarah-pensyarah berkenaan membayangi mereka bukan pensyarah tetapi sebahagian daripada profesion dan pasaran. Itu merosakkan nilai akademik. Mereka tidak dapat membezakan antara nilai akademik dan nilai pasaran.

Dengan apa yang kian berlaku ialah masyarakat pensyarah dilentur untuk akur kepada KPI tanpa kesarjanaan dan hikmah.

Apa yang mereka peduli ialah mengajar mengikut acuan yang diberi, mendapat sekian banyak pembiayaan untuk penyelidikan (tidak kira siapa membonceng) dan menerbit dalam jurnal-jurnal yang berindeks dalam pangkalan data tertentu.

Amalan budaya material dan wang sebagai pengukur hasil para pensyarah kini amat tebal di kalangan university kita. Ini hendaklah dihentikan.

Para pemimpin university hendaklah muhasabah akan kesang jangka masa panjanh jika ia berlarutan. Ilmu dan kesarjanaan tidak dapat dijanakan tanpa keikhlasan dan integriti.

Malah, keadaan ini kian mempengaruhi para pensyarah muda, dan juga yang lama. Ada wang, boleh terbit dan ini dikira dalam KPI pensyarah itu dan universiti.

Budaya ini telah banyak disalahgunakan. Ada ‘pakar’ dari universiti tempatan, yang dijemput oleh beberapa buah universiti lain, memaklumkan bahawa ‘membonceng’ itu halal. Dan ‘membonceng’ itu membolehkan nama kita tersiar di berpuluh-puluh jurnal dalam masa setahun. Dan kegiatan ini amat digalakkan.

Dengan itu, seseorang dinilai sebagai ‘cemerlang’ dan seterusnya dianggap sebagai pensyarah yang ‘berkualiti.’ Di mana integritinya di sini?

Apakah istilah ‘cemerlang’ dan ‘kecemerlangan’ dan ‘kualiti’ itu telah mengaburkan kita akan kesarjanaan dan hikmah? Mengapah istilah ‘cemerlang’ digunakan dengan sewenang-wenangnya dalam universiti dan masyarakat kita?

Saya kira kita telah lari daripada matalamat asal mengapa kita bekerja di universiti dan asas penubuhan universiti itu.

Saya bukan menentang usaha dan inisiatif kea rah memperbaiki pengajian tinggi kita. Apa yang saya ingin tegur ialah usaha itu telah banyak disalah tafsir dan disalah guna oleh para pensyarah lalu direstui oleh pentadbir university itu sendiri.” (Prof Dr A Murad Merican, Bandar Seri Iskandar, Tronoh, Perak).

So the relentless march down the lane of mediocrity is everywhere: in the civil service, in the universities (I would loathe to use the term ivory tower) and from my previous thread, in public social life. Anon 18:04 has added a new twist to this sad tale of woe with his revelation of BOGUS journals as he has put it. We now know why PERKASA, ISMA and UMNO working overtime.

To Prof Dr A Murad Merican and Utusan Malaysia, sincere thanks for the exposé.

“The urge for destruction is also a creationist urge” - Michael Bakunin, preeminent social anarchist.

Sumpitan Emas,  13 May 2014 at 10:07  

Nilai jauhari terhakis dalam diri kita sehinggakan kita tidak lagi mengenal manikin...

sepatutnya,
Nilai jauhari terhakis dalam diri kita sehinggakan kita tidak lagi mengenal manikam.

Sekian, terima kasih.

Anonymous,  13 May 2014 at 12:45  

Despite being away for a long while, but from afar, having shared the same grief alongside fellow Malaysians that we have lost three of the best of our Malaysians in recent weeks; the missing MH 370 still unresolved, UMNO Melayu leaders will not " insaf " like the fine elderly Atok said, " Mereka sepatutnya ngeri dgn petunjuk tapi ... "

Next for Sak to quote Zain Azrai the Cambridge educated who spoke with impeccable English. Yes, but the number has increased and these Malaysians have emigrated. However some like the many Wallas chose to remain in the nation.

However, some mths back, a bigot made a remark here that cakap cam guru sek rendah, in a way, his/ her prejudiced and arrogant comment aptly described those type of cikgu sek rendah ( how abt the many lecturers & professors at local universities ) have contributed to the elite UMNO Melayu leaders who have "competently" handle many crucial national issues speaking "impeccable " English ?

For all the issues, suppressive policies, corruptions, bodeking cultures, the great influx of arab- indon - bangla - mamak - chinamen cultures etc that happen in the nation, I for one, a Malaysian First, a color blind progressive thinking Malay, is happiest and smart on par when abroad, will also emigrate.

And Sak is prejudiced and arrogant without substantial works to prove, in some ways. It is a political game at its best play in a different shade.

No point.

Anonymous,  13 May 2014 at 17:03  

Whole heartedly agree with the standard of our civil service which has declined. These days I shun any visits to the Government Department it upsets me to see that "No Body seems to care attitidue". They just dont care!. For example, when it comes to lunch everything is closed. Come back after 2. So why cant you rotate the staffs and serve?
The fish rot from the head...

Anonymous,  13 May 2014 at 21:41  

You people belum tahu lagi mutu penjawat awam Gred 17, J17, N17, W17 dan sebagainya, disgusting

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