About two weeks back I received an email from a friend of a friend of a friend… in short it was forwarded countless times before it came to my in box. It was a desperate message by the sister of a former Director-General of JKR (Jabatan Kerja Raya or Public Works Department [PWD]) of the Ministry of Works Malaysia. Apparently this man who was appointed as the DG in 2007 under the previous flip flop PM was just recently in April 2011 removed from his post and given a lower less “powerful” post and his post is taken over by his junior officer.
According to the email his removal was due to his refusal to condone the irregularities in some major contracts was it the new Istana Negara (National Palace) or the Shah Alam Hospital? Obviously his boss the Minister of Works, a politician, did not support whatever he was doing and the KSN ( the Chief Secretary to the government) did not defend him. The present KSN is famous for removing senior government servants who are unlucky enough to spur his ire! Look at the former male DG of MAMPU (before the female officer who was extended and recently retired) and the former DG of JPJ (Jabatan Pengangkutan Awam – Dept. of Public Transports). Both were sent packing.
Now whilst the two above officers are from the ubiquitous PTD (Perkidmatan Tadbir Awam or Public Services Department (PSD) pool, Judin Karim the “sacked” DG of JKR is an engineer, a professional with a PhD to boot.
While I, like most of the email recipients, symphatise and emphatise with Judin Karim and his angry family, friends and concerned staff, we cannot really do anything as we do not really know the real reason behind his removal. It is of course contrary to PM Najib’s highly touted anti-corruption campaign if the DG was removed for fulfilling Najib’s mission. It is a tragedy and really Najib has to look at this as other civil servants are not indifferent to the bad treatment of one of their kind! Most will take the stand of saying what you want to hear…. now that is dangerous. The strong and proud Ottoman empire fell and was destroyed on this silent “resistance” culture.
And now some government doctors are talking apprehensively about their new DG who took office following the retirement of the previous DG who was on a marathon contract for more than five years. According to the grapevine, the former DG surrounded himself with inexperienced and incapable officers so that he could be extended many times and the strategy worked! Capable officers were sidelined and one of them retired optionally out of frustration of waiting to be DG. Obviously he was not deemed capable so the Health DG was further extended.
Public and bloggers’ uproar regarding the extension of the former IGP, Musa Hassan in 2010 somehow also touched on Ismail Merican, the long-term contract DG of Health so out they go, contract no longer extended. For the Health Ministry, the day of reckoning came with the appointment of the new DG. Dear Lord, what a personality and what a character? Extremely quiet compared to the verbose Ismail Merican. He is not only unable to converse in English well ( ask the Minister of Health ) but instead of tampering his inaptness and shortcomings in English and social interactions with humility, he goes around threatening, humiliating and speak of payback times. He is full of vengefulness.
According to one senior doctor that Hassan Abdul Rahman chaired a long meeting stone-faced throughout and he had warned that he was someone who would hunt down his “enemies” or those officers who displeased, offended or angered him to the rabbit’s hole or was it the worm’s hole (lubang cacing)? : and so the unfortunate officers can forget about their promotion for as long as he is in office!
Now people, these are not the characteristics of a professional. These are not the qualities of a Senior civil servant who is supposed to inspire his/her staff. This is certainly not a leader who will translate PM Najib’s transformation efforts. Former DG Ismail Merican has done a great disservice to the Health Ministry by taking this man on instead of a more capable one now languishing as the Health Director of one of the Peninsular States whom he did not like because the officer has the penchant for voicing out his opinions.
KSN Sidek Hassan and Health Minister Liow, I am afraid to say that both of you have not done your job well in recommending the right person for the Health DG job and you both have failed PM Najib.
Well like Judin Karim the ex-JKR DG, Hassan Abdul Rahman the new Health DG can always be removed. A precedent has been set. If you don’t perform as expected, out you go. So Hassan Abdul Rahman has to change his paranoid and overly stern approach to his staff because staff are an asset to any government departments at both State and Federal level. Treat them badly at your peril.
Can someone please monitor this new Health DG before it is too late. And at the same time ensure that the removal of the ex-JKR DG is actually done in the best interests of the public rather than some bigtime corrupt contractors and politicians.
We owe it to the Malaysian public to make certain that our civil service is led by professional, inspiring and transforming leaders in line with PM Najib’s noble vision.