Sabotage in the civil service?

Is it really true that government servants are sabotaging the new government out of political differences?

Government servants are voters, are they not? Hence, whether or not they are members of a political party, they are entitled to their political views and inclinations. During elections, they will express their preferences at the ballot box.

If we want a more neutral civil service, I would prefer that we control their active participation in politics instead of monitoring their party membership. Party membership does not naturally connote active participation in politics. Similarly, one does not need to be a member of a political party to indulge in politics.

As I see it, any sabotage by the civil service against the new government is mainly due to laziness, incompetency and corruption.

If the new government is relatively clean, efficient and transparent, this will pose challenges and problems for the civil service.

Let’s not be pretentious; the Malaysian civil service is not known for efficiency, competency and integrity. Many holding important positions love opaqueness, ambiguity and bureaucracy. This is where they can delay and frustrate public policies as well as programmes.

If the new government is clean and in a hurry to get things done, I believe it may generate adverse reactions in the civil service. I am quite sure that many in the civil service still prefer the “good old lucrative days” where delay and inefficiency could generate lots of illicit money.

If political masters are corrupt, there is not much the civil service can do other than condoning or being complicit in it.

We have changed the political masters but the civil service has remained the same. I am of the view that the apparent sabotage against the new government by the civil service is not due to political differences per se. I think it has much to do with the civil service’s wayward ways.

If the new government is serious about getting rid of corruption, it must go all the way. It must get tough with the civil service, failing which the government may face even more problems as we see in the so-called sabotage today.

This is not about the civil service being loyal to the old or new government. This is about its loyalty to its own pocket.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.