Call on the civil service chiefs to resist the political pressures by Prime Minister and the UMNO/BN leadership to co-opt civil service to campaign for UMNO/BN in the run-up to 14GE
I call on the civil service heads to resist political pressures by the Prime Minister and the UMNO/BN leadership to co-opt the civil service to campaign for UMNO/BN in the run-up to the 14th General Election.
The civil service must be mindful that it is non-partisan and serves the government of the day, whether UMNO/BN or Pakatan Harapan, to further the interests of the people and country.
The civil service owes loyalty to the people and nation and not to any political party or coalition, as civil servants are paid from the taxes levied on Malaysians and not from the pockets of the Prime Minister or party coffers of any coalition of parties.
The political pressures applied on top civil servants to co-opt the civil service to campaign for UMNO/BN in the run-up to the 14th General Election has already caused several top public servants to commit public bloopers and become the butt of public jokes or adverse comments.
A case in point is the shocking statement by the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa, who said yesterday that there is no problem with the Federal Territories Minister, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, openly inviting teachers to join UMNO at a school function in Putrajaya, which turned into a mini-UMNO affair with students singing the UMNO party song and waving UMNO flags.
Would Ali say that teachers can join DAP and the other Pakatan Harapan component parties, and if not, can the 13th Chief Secretary point out where in the General Orders is it stated that teachers can join UMNO but not DAP and the other Pakatan Harapan component parties?
Can teachers expect some clarity as the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said in March that teachers who supported the opposition and criticised the government should leave the profession?
The past fortnight had been a fortnight of faux pas for top civil servants, as Ali Hamsa was not the only casualty.
Last Thursday, Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah revived the myth of the Lazy Native and said that there is no reason that Malaysians should be poor, because there are plenty of opportunities for them to be well-off.
Irwan Serigar claimed that those who are poor are in situations of their own making.
He said: “If people are poor, I believe that they have made themselves poor. If they have arms and legs and can walk, they can survive in Malaysia.
“There are four million immigrants living in Malaysia. Like in Chow Kit. It used to be us (Malaysians) doing business in Chow Kit. Now half of those doing business are Indonesians.
“If Indonesians can thrive in Malaysia, Malaysians should be more successful.”
This is not the place the re-visit Syed Hussein Alatas’ seminal study, “The Myth of the Lazy Native”, except to note two things: the first one the question by investigative journalist, R. Nadeswaran who asked yesterday: “Or is the Ali-Baba system flourishing in a different way? Previously, if it was the Malays who were selling or leasing their licences to the Chinese, now the trend is for Malay traders to ‘pajak’ (lease) their licences to their Indonesian brethren.”
The second is the observation by Alatas’ daughter, Masturah Alatas, in her article “Four decades of a Malay myth” in January in New Mandala: “What is missing from the narrative is if it is laziness or hard work that has to do with how the current Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was able to allegedly channel more than $1 billion into his personal bank accounts.”
The third top public servant to be caught in an invidious position as a result of increasing political pressures on the civil service to help out the UMNO/BN politicians is the new Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Mohamad Fuz Harun.
On 21st September, I asked whether the new IGP had committed his first blot on his professionalism when he issued a statement on the Kuala Lumpur City ban on the Better Beer Festival because of terrorist threat and security reason.
But earlier that day, Bukit Aman counter terrorism division senior principal assistant director Datuk Ayub Khan Mydin Pitchay had said he knew nothing about the Better Beer Festival being cancelled because of terrorist or security problems.
The reason given by Kuala Lumpur City Hall for the ban on the Better Beer Festival, which had been held for several years, was “political sensitivities”.
The job of the top policeman in the country is to lead the police force to fight crime and ensure the safety and security of Malaysia to its citizens, visitors and investors and not to play Barisan Nasional politics with the sacred duty of the police force for the benefit of politicians in government.
Two weeks before the 60th Merdeka Anniversary celebrations, the Perak Police Chief revealed that the Islamic State (IS) was planning to launch an attack in Perak during the upcoming Merdeka Day celebrations.
Did the government cancel all Merdeka celebrations in Perak because of such intelligence reports?
Of course not, although the intelligence reports would have justified more police reinforcements at critical areas and greater police preparedness.
If the Malaysian police cannot even handle a security or terrorist threat to the Better Beer Festival, which would be held in a very localised and easily protected area, Malaysians would be entitled to ask how could the Police face a major or full-scale terrorist threat?
Two days ago, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak blatantly campaigned for votes among the civil service when he addressed some 5,000 civil servants and stressed that the UMNO/BN coalition and the civil service are inseparable and warned them of a possibility of bleak future if Pakatan Harapan comes into power.
Najib is doubly wrong. UMNO/BN coalition and the civil service are separate and distinct entities, and the future of the civil service does not and must not depend on the fate of the UMNO/BN coalition, which is going downhill.
Secondly, it is just irresponsible fear-mongering on Najib’s part to stoke fears among Malay civil servants that a Pakatan Harapan general election victory will “gamble” away their future and those of their descendants.
The Pakatan Harapan State Governments in Penang and Selangor for two terms are an assurance to all civil servants that under a Pakatan Harpaan Federal Government, Pakatan Harapan will compete with UMNO/BN to show that Malaysian civil servants, regardless of race, religion or region will enjoy a better deal as Malaysians than under the Najib premiership.
It is a reflection of Najib’s political insecurities that he has broached the heretical notion of wala’(loyalty) for civil servants.
Najib said: "It's about promising loyalty to a legitimate leader, a leadership institution and an administration as long as there is no element of cruelty in the leadership.
"If the principle of wala' is practiced in the civil service, a particular organisation will be disciplined and will also run smoothly."
Apart from the inappropriateness of the principle of wala’ in a democratic country, the 1.5 million civil servants and the 32 million Malaysians are entitled to ask what “legitimacy” Najib is talking about when he had done nothing to clear or cleanse the country of the infamy of a “global kleptocracy” and/or his premiership of the ignominy of a “kleptocrat” and “MO1”?
The speech by Najib to the 5,000 civil servants two days ago was a most inappropriate vote-getting exercise by the Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional government in the run-up to the 14GE.
Will the Chief Secretary Ali Hamsa ensure that Pakatan Harapan leaders will have a similar opportunity to address the 5,000 civil servants on what they could expect from a Pakatan Harpaan Federal Government in the run-up to the 14GE?