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I am certain all of us who shun corruption in all its guises are very happy that the government under the current Prime Minister is putting fighting corruption as one of its main agendas. The implementation of a system of monitoring and outcome measure in the form of National Key Result Areas (NKRA) is timely and appropriate. At last we can see actions and not just empty talk or talking from the “pulpit” as seen under the previous “Mr Clean” PM!

Perceived corruption in the civil service is most worrying because this is where the government and the people put their trust to facilitate the services and actually virtual day to day running of the country. From enforcement to selection of tenders, contractors and purchase of equipment and constructions of buildings. Civil servants, especially in senior positions wield power from their position. We have seen how this power can be abused in various approval-related activities of senior civil servants.

Corruption increases the cost of doing business (everyone knows that), causes unfairness (only certain suppliers/contractors are selected) and jeopardizes the quality of items procured by the government and paid for by the tax-payers. Corruption kills healthy competition and drives away genuine entrepreneurship, motivation and creativity. Corruption in civil service also prevents fair distribution of wealth and promotes dissatisfaction in the business community. Corruption also promotes mediocrity, substandard works and unusual tolerance for delayed projects as well as poor quality and innovation.

Politicians with vested interests, usually those who have to “help” their supporters to get business or contracts from the government, would go to the extent of influencing the choice of senior civil servants to fill certain important posts. They even influence the transfer of those officers who refuse their shameful calling. This is happening and I hope the Secretary to the government and the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Council) will look into this. Usually these politicians are in the same Ministry where the senior civil servant (non-PTD) works!

It is easy to detect, just look at all recent Special Grade top (non-PTD) appointments in the management posts and identify those officers who jump over others in seniority and study their characters and look at their background, their pending court case ( not many officers have to go to court for “seedy” dealing!) and go to the extent of asking their former bosses on their past performance. It is all there, one just has to screen and search for these culprits.

The civil service should not allow politicians to dictate who should be promoted and to what post. If it cannot be helped as the political pressure is very strong, despite the real danger of abuse of public position through the favoring of business to the politicians’ supporters, then the MACC needs to monitor that civil servant in his/her financial dealings and ensure that the NKRA activities are safeguarding public interests.

Political hand in civil servant’s promotion is abhorrent. It is a form of corrupt practice. It defies code of conduct, causes unfairness, create dissatisfaction and is demoralizing. To the politicians who indulge in this unsavory practice and you know who you are, remember Nature acts in mysterious ways and you will never be safe on this earth for as long as you live and the curse will go down to even your descendants!

Let us create a healthy and harmonious social environment for our future generation by saying “NO” to corruption. Let us fight for a corruption-free Malaysian civil service.

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