Be politically neutral, PM reminds civil servants

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a gathering of civil servants at Kompleks Seri Negeri, Ayer Keroh in Melaka today. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today urged civil servants to remain politically neutral in carrying out their tasks, to ensure that the country is governed well.

For 60 years since independence, he said, the ruling coalition at both state and federal levels had remained the same.

He added that after the change of government in last year’s general election, civil servants might feel odd serving those who had once been in the opposition.

“Because of the change in government that took place after GE14, there have been times when it is difficult for us to shift our loyalties from the previous government to the current one.

“However, because we accept a democratic system which changes governments through elections, we need to remember that civil servants need to be free from being bound to the ruling party,” he said at a gathering of civil servants in Melaka, where he is on a working visit.

“Even when they do not align themselves with the ruling party, when they serve under the ruling party it is their duty to agree with and acknowledge the policies and actions taken by the ruling party.”

Mahathir, who is Pakatan Harapan chairman, said if civil servants could free themselves from their strong bonds with the ruling party and carry out their duties as political neutral civil administrators, he was confident that the country could be governed well.

He said in many countries, a change in government usually results in instability and even war, and expressed gratitude that this had not happened in Malaysia.

“It is a big achievement for us. However, after a change in government, the civil service needs to continue their tasks as administrators independent from any political parties, and to ensure the success of the policies and actions of the new government.

“I believe all civil servants understand that they need to be politically neutral. If we realise that, we can do our jobs properly, not just to enable the new government to succeed, but also to ensure the success of the country.”

Earlier in his speech, Mahathir reminded the Melaka civil servants to prioritise and practise good ethical values, as well as high self-esteem.

“Even though we hope private sector workers have the same values, the burden is more on the shoulders of civil servants. This is because civil servants are directly responsible to the people and they are the trustees of the people.

“If civil servants do not keep the trust, the government machinery will break down and this will jeopardise the faith of the people in the civil servants and tarnish the image of the civil service.

“Therefore, the government and the people have high hopes that the civil service will be a clean, efficient and trustworthy administration machinery,” he said.