Sunday, May 6, 2012

Civil Servants Do Not Engage, Hence The Political Government gets into trouble?

The "government administration" which is made up of the civil servants, the various agencies such as Police, Bank Negara, Elections Commissions, etc, etc goes on automatic mode irregardless of who the "political government" is. For example, even if Pakatan Rakyat was to take over the country, the same civil service wil be serving the Nation.

I cannot but help notice that the Barisan Nasional political government is increasingly being put on the defensive by various events in the country. Some of this defensive position, in my view, is a choice that BN seems to make! There are many occasions where the BN government does no have to be defensive in my view. Anyway, I digress from the point I want to make in this article.

The point i want to make here is this: that the actions of the secure civil servants affects the image and the tenure of the insecure politicians in power. Let me explain.

Firstly, most of the Rakyat deal largely with civil servants and agencies and not with the political masters. The manner in which these civil servants deal and engage with the Rakyat is what really matters to the Rakyat. If these agencies exercise their powers unreasonably or do not address the Rakyat's complaints in a reasonable manner, the Rakyat gets very frustrated. If these agencies do not respond positively by having discussions with the Rakyat on specific complaints and refuse to interpret the law in a just and helpful manner, the Rakyat gets agitated. 

Frustrations and agitations lead to feelings of helplessness. Ultimate feelings of helplessness leads to collective actions against the agencies and often, these feelings are directed against the political masters. It is this fact that the political masters must understand clearly.

Hence, in my view, when the Rakyat has a legitamate complaint against a certain law or an agency, the ruling political masters must side with the Rakyat. They cannot adopt this automatic defensive position and be pro-agency because, the political masters are expected to side with the Rakyat. It is very plain and simple. This has got to be the new thinking among the politicians if they want to remain relevant at these times where the Rakyat is increasingly becoming aware of their rights. 

However, I find it almost ridiculous and self defeating that quite often, the political ruling class goes on the defensive whenever the actions or omissions of a government agency is challenged or brought into question. When this happens, the political opposition sides with the complaining Rakyat and projects itself as the champion of the oppressed Rakyat. It is almost as if the fact of continued incumbency has infected upon them the disease of defensiveness and ousted the attitude of embracing the Rakyat's complaint.  

In this regard, I have often mentioned to my friends in the ruling class that their "takut bayang2" attitude and the incapacity to embrace new political responses creates more problems for them even in situations where they are right.

It is about time that the ruling class pay serious attention to the exercise of discretion by the civil servants and the various agencies (including the state agencies, especially that which relates to religion). Whatever they do or do not do will impact on the support the ruling class gets.

The ruling political class must learn to stop being defensive. Get new advise on the new ways to respond. The whole world is changing, you should change too if you want to remain relevant.

Peace !

1 comment:

Mawar said...

Tuan Rapera,

What you wrote is absolutely, 100 per cent right. Let's hope that those VIPs for whom your advice is obviously directed read this commentary of yours. It will really benefit them greatly if they will take your advice to heart.

You remarked that: "This has got to be the new thinking among the politicians if they want to remain relevant at these times where the Rakyat is increasingly becoming aware of their rights."

The internet deserves a great part of the credit for bringing this about, ie, the Rakyat becoming increasingly aware of their rights. And bloggers/writers like yourself also deserve thanks from the people for sharing your know-how and teaching them.

Best regards.