Some three months ago I read with dismay the newspaper report on how a veterinary doctor was able to fool the system to get a fast-tracked promotion here. I am just incredulous. What kind of “sick mind” do we have here? For the life of me, I cannot even fathom the audacity of this person or persons who have carried out this kind of deceit. Are they minimally psychopathic?
Only psychopaths with grandiose ideas and an oblique sense of indifference would and could undertake this charade. These types do not have conscience and they think, rather pathetically they could get away with it! ( who knows perhaps some who have got through undetected all these years).
Really the authorities will have to plug the loopholes and ensure the water tightness of this important system in our civil service. This incident is an embarrassment to the civil service which is supposed to be one of the best in the world and should be a lesson to the government.
There appears to be a lack of or no proper guidelines and checklists on the promotion procedures/exercise and on the flow of validation and auditing. How could the head of Department ( the Vet) just issued a circular to her clerk and directed the latter to adjust her scale and salary? Who is validating the clerk’s work as required under the system of check and balance?
Very senior and premier posts in the government are meant for officers who are really qualified and deserving. These officers are supposed to lead and articulate government policies and interact nationally and internationally.
The case of the veterinarian who promoted herself is likely to form an infinitesimal percentage of all promotions. The larger unjustified promotions through faulty assessment is more concerning.
There are officers who are promoted to the highest grade in their post and even to the premier post JUSA ( jawatan utama sektor awam) but are not able to perform befitting the post. I was told of an officer, who by virtue of her seniority and family connection to the director-general of a large Ministry, was promoted to JUSA. Apparently her history of absenteeism from official meetings,courses,seminars and conferences was legendary.
Whenever there were critical meetings or international English-speaking visitors coming to visit her organization she would conveniently stay away leaving her junior officers to conduct such meetings or deal with the visitors. Nobody could move her when her godfather was in service. Once this godfather retired, this JUSA officer is now apparently being shunted here and there as nobody wants her due to her chaotic and selfish management style.The chief secretary to the government, should he feel vicariously concerned, could check on this undeserving premier officer and see if she could be advised to earn her promotion.
Her ascent to such a high post should be a case study on the failure of our civil service to filter, select and appoint truly deserving, model and excellent leaders who add values to the service.
Another case was an officer who was on a lower grade for a long time due to his inability to show good performance (hardly spoke at meetings or conferences) then suddenly was fast-tracked by his headquarters on the basis of “kesian” (pity)and sent to one of the states where he virtually did nothing as a leader and even told his junior officers that they should work smart and not hard.
How did this officer get his JUSA post confirmed? Easy, he just asked his staff to make-up a lot of “fake” documents like committees which were non-existent and the minutes of meetings which were never held!And programs/projects which were only on paper. Hard to believe? The vetting central agencies’ officers never, for one minute, doubted the the authenticity of his thick and nicely bound report.
This is a true story complete with documentary evidence and if one were to really investigate and query those under him at the material time, the beans will surely be spilled. He got his JUSA and the PTD officer who helped him fake the documentation went on to get JUSA as well. That’s the reality of our civil service. Too much emphasis on seniority and less on talent. In fact talented officers are often pushed to the back burner, resign to join the private sector or opt for an early retirement.
A highly talented and internationally recognized lady in one of the large Ministries would have been its first woman director general had it not been for the head of her department who harbored a deep sense of inferiority complex and the central level high-ranking officers who were chauvinistic and could not handle her brilliance. Her sidelining was Malaysia’s loss.
We will continuously fail to objectively select the right officers for our top civil service posts if the recommendation for promotion is left to just one man or woman in each department or ministry, that is the director-general or the secretary general who could be bias and manipulative. These officers filling up important posts should be vetted by a committee/board instead to determine their eligibility, their exceptional qualities not only the quality of hard work like checking data and making sure information is given to the superior on time to spur the latter’s public image.
In addition the officers slotted for high posts must be able to communicate effectively in dual languages , Malay and English at least and demonstrate leadership qualities such as strategic thinking, transformational, visionary,passion,compassion,knowledgeable,analytical et cetera. All these can be garnered at interviews by a board of promotion which should exclude his/her immediate boss.
Had this interviewing process been undertaken, many would guess a director-general of one of the major ministries today will not be where he is. He is everything that a top officer should not be such as mediocre,pettiness,micro-managing, vengefulness, arrogant,shortsightedness and parochialism (he fast-tracks promotions of officers from his home state!). Could the chief secretary please check on this rogue director general.
Indeed The chief secretary to the government should meet all these director-generals every now and then and ask them to present papers in English just to gauge their proficiency in case they have to represent Malaysia at the international levels.
Quite often in high level meetings, these so-called top officers will give a short opening speech then would call upon his subordinate officer to present the departmental paper…. Blimey! He receives a fat salary and his work is only to direct a junior officer to do the presentation! So you have things like Malay being atrociously translated into English by Google translation ( Ministry of Defense) and the bloody top officer didn’t even bother to counter-check. I agree with the suggestion that the respective negligent DG should be sacked or demoted for the embarrassment inflicted upon our country, and yet it is not easy my friends, to sack an errant civil servant.
And God forbid if the top post of a ministry has to be recommended and vetted by the respective Minister! Civil service has to be neutral and of course civil servants must follow the policies of the government of the day, otherwise the executive component will fail. Having said that, they must not pander to politicians out to make money on large contracts of the respective ministries. Easier said than done especially during the reign of the son-in-law of the preceding flip flop prime minister whose name I feel nauseous to mention.
Usually promotion to civil service top/premier posts are based on “suitability” and you please go ahead and interpret what that word means to suit yourself. Hence, you get all the “yes” men and women who are busily trying to protect their career interests through unhealthy lobbying and pandering to their bosses and politicians to get that coveted premier post!
And by the way, we have yet to talk about the low moral and resentment which is all too common in this kind of toxic environment. The current politics of promotion to premier posts in the civil service augurs badly for the country.
In conclusion, promotion by fraudulent means and faulty assessments will lead our Malaysian civil service to remaining mediocre for a long time to come.