PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today warned civil servants against abusing their power, no matter how little.
He said the government had been entrusted to rule the country well.
“Members of the government have been given a little bit of power. Even clerks have power,” he said at the monthly assembly of the Prime Minister’s Department here.
He recalled an office boy at the office of a Kedah magistrate during the British rule.
“The magistrate was powerful, but his office boy was also powerful. He could decide if the magistrate had the time to see people or not.”
However, Mahathir said, this office boy had used his authority to collect bribes and had gone to Penang on holiday every weekend.
“This is not good. We should not do this, even if our power is small,” he said.
He added that it was not merely a matter of avoiding corruption as those in government should carry out their duties to the best of their abilities.
“We have been given knowledge. We have been educated until university level to equip us to carry out our duties.
“If we abuse our power, we have betrayed the trust given to us.”
If, however, they are hardworking, sincere and accountable, he said, they would succeed.
“On the other hand, if we are given a responsibility and we neglect it, if we are lazy and involved in corruption and others, the country will never succeed.”