Civil servants: Tony Pua is right

Tony Pua is right about the need to reduce the size of civil servants. By virtue of his position as a MP from DAP, his political opponents are obliged to, or even eager to, seize any opportunity to take a pop shot at him; turning a technical matter into a racist, counter-productive and down right detrimental course of arguments.
Let technical people make technical decision. For those with vested interest or with skewered intention, butt out! Then again these shallow minded people are unable to debate real issues with commonsense and can only resort to what they know best, which may not be the best for the rest.

As a tax payer and not an elected MP from Pakatan Rakyat, I am free to speak my mind on this matter. I pay my taxes hence their salaries, perks, office supplies, pension, equipment, amenities, maternity leaves, bonus, parking lot and even their toilet soap.
The statistics of our bloated civil service is well documented elsewhere and for this post, I depart from my usual research base way of writing and just conclude my thoughts base on materials I have come across at one time or the other.
FACT: Malaysian civil servants are not comparable to first world countries.  I have dealt with civil servants in Hong Kong and Singapore. I went to the Hong Kong income tax department to register a new tax payer, submit his assessment and get his tax clearance within 3 hours. In Malaysia, it would be lucky to get this done in 3 weeks.
I have observed the following incidence first hand:
·         Despite the victim producing written confession from the assailant who attacked him, an officer at Gombak police station refused to take action against the culprit
·         Staff at general hospital Seremban only prescribe panadol to a man dying of hemorrhage
·         Nurses at the same hospital refused to find and handover urinal pan to an invalid old lady who was wailing for one and me, as an outsider, came to her aid by locating the utensil myself
·         I have to renew the work permit of my company’s expatriate and have to drive all the way from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya just because I rang the immigration office dozens of time to ask some simple question and no one bothered even to pick up the phone!
Other more hideous proofs of the competency level of the civil service are for all to see:
·         The annual read and weep report from AG, and just when you think such act cannot be surpassed, MACC out performed by declaring the Marine Park scandal is not a scandal
·         The infamous 3 fingered out by Teoh Beng Hock’s RCI
·         The money recovered from the airport robbery went missing inside the police station
·         Unnecessary deaths due to gross incompetence of ambulance service

Social re-engineering is one thing but first and foremost, put competent people in charge of life and death decisions. There is no social re-engineering to speak of when you only have dead people around.
And these ring wing opportunists say that they deserve their iron rice bowl, able to enjoy no responsibility and accountability?
Fine, if they want to look at it from race point of view then:
1)      Who is responsible for making Malaysian civil service populated mainly by 1 race only?
2)      Isn't the same administration also responsible for excessive size of civil service?

Maybe it is beyond the racists’ comprehension but when we have excessive debts, continuing deficit budgets, we have to trim spending and avoid the fate that befell the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain).

Any accountant will tell you that to cut cost, one has to study the cost drivers and one of the biggest cost component is headcount. Those employed in private sector are facing numerous challenges such as sales targets, deadlines, response time, retrenchment, constructive dismissals, overtime without pay etc. Who are these cry babies to complain when they have such comfortable environment and became little napoleons?

In fact, there are dubious “civil servants” such as those JKKKs appointed by BN federal government in Pakatan controlled states, which result in duplication. With mass privatization of public services such as water, electricity, sewerage, healthcare,waste management, education services in Malaysia, (even hospital linen cleaning services are privatized !) how could BN justify let alone embarked on mass expansion of civil service population? In fact, GLCs' staff are probably categorized as private sector staff when their behavior and allegiance may not totally reflective of a private sector staff.

Reading the AG report and encountering them on a daily basis make tax payers, at least this one, feel that a lot of them do not deserve to be in their position. Many of them should be sacked, tried for offences and ill-gotten gains confiscated and returned to the people in accordance with the MACC Act. Instead, they get blanket bonus without basic performance appraisal.

Substance over form, the reality is that civil servants are valued not for their actual contribution but as voters’ bank. Otherwise how come they enjoy such perks and immunity? Putrajaya is the smallest constituency with total registered voters amounting to about 1/6 of Teresa Kok’s winning margin in Seputeh.

Put simply, majority of civil servants looks like the unwilling and ungrateful lead by the unqualified serving the unsatisfied. Of course there are good ones around, like the immigration department that can issue passports within an hour, dedicated teachers who are loved by their students (Siti Inshah not included).

Therefore by removing the incompetent, the corrupt, the unwilling, the indolent etc, then truly dedicated and hardworking civil servants can raise through via performance. This will motivate them no end, and the public will enjoy good service and get their money’s worth.

For those who should be removed, they either are supposed to be sentenced by the laws passed by BN lawmakers anyway. And for others who have to go to reduce headcount and balance the budget some might be motivated to learn to live on their own and make their own success story.

The opportunist right wingers are not helping to address the financial mismanagement and service level issues, which are big issues. If they can’t contribute to constructive debate and nation building, they should just go and screw themselves.


  1. I am very astonished that after privatising all the public amenities(electircity,water,phone,sewarage,rubbish collection & others of which the employees are used to be govt servants),yet we see the numbers of govt servants increasing at an alarming rate.
    I agreed more with the writer that this is the BN's way of creating a voter's bank.

  2. well, anom, appreciate your concurence and it is only the damn idiots can hook headcount trimming with racism.

    a co-worker of mine whose son works in S'pore civil service once remarked that "my son works so hard as the government reduced staff"

    so if other governments are doing it, what is so special about our under performing ones?

    lee wee tak

  3. Lee Wee Tak is right too!
    By way of their performance the govt is really giving me and other good Malaysians a bad name abroad. We are not as stupid as the govt you know. It's the 80-20 rule. 80% percent of the problems are caused by 20% of the people.

  4. great practical application of the Pareto rule, comrade. and the Malaysia's SEA games contingent seems to have a huge baggage of hangers on....

    wee tak


    written by Nunudada, November 19, 2011 05:49:31

    This bloated civil service serves as an insurance for voter support.The same system is being adopted in the U.K. When election is in the air the ruling elite gives them a pay boost or bonus and assures them that they can continue with what they have been doing.
    To undo this entire mess we really need a revolution,and punishment must be meted out even to the highest on the list.However,this would be messy because the police would be only too happy to shed blood.We need to start some form of a national boycott to drive them out.Total civil disobedience needs to be carried out.
    written by educationist, November 19, 2011 04:09:15

    Wee Tak , you have hit the nail squarely on the head.
    Look at the size of our bloated civil service - at last count of about 1.2 million and racial composition of its members, we will understand why Anwar has to scramble to say PR will not reduce the numbers if it come to power!!
    RPK is right - the PR is not ready to boot out the UMNOputras!!
    PR is not ready to think out of the box, it still wants to pamper to vested interests!!

  6. Well, you missed an important point. From where is all the money to fund all these excesses coming from? EPF has been a consistent lender to the Govt for 14 continour years. 60% of EPF's funds are in the form of MGS, Govt papers. Which means that the Govt has spent 60% of all our funds in the EPF. And the borrowing will go on until everything is looted.

    MGS papers are not auctioned in the open market but instead "offered" to the EPF at discouragingly low rates.

  7. well spotted GCN, read my previous post in about national debts. it covered EPF...althought the lain-lain category that include cooperative and unclassified items are the biggest financier of Hutang Dalam Negeri Persekutuan remains a mystery.

    wee tak