By MANSOR PUTEH
This is about the question of how to trim the civil service and increase productivity by turning them into industries that can generate income for the nation.
By now, Malaysia should have no more than 15 members in the cabinet, much like the U.S. and many other developed countries – and for a good reason, too.
All developed countries do not have many ministries and in each ministry, there are so few agencies to support and provide for.
This should explain why the population of the civil servants in those countries is small.
Therefore, if Malaysia wants to become a developed country, it must follow what the other developed countries had done by trimming the size of the cabinet and the civil service.
If this is not done now, Malaysia will continue onwards being ‘overweight’ and unwieldy in those crucial areas.
Be stagnant at our peril and allow the redundant lot to remain unproductive, whiling away the days waiting to be promoted with bigger pay and even more unjustified perks.
The standard ideal is to wait for their pension date and thereafter while away the hours from weeks till month’s end to receive their pension payment until they die.
And after they are gone, their spouses or qualified family members get to enjoy the payment.
So, the bloated civil service holds on to the status quo.
This is not a case of ‘the more the merrier’ but the more the less professional.
Who in the country knows how the problem was created that perpetuated such a calamity? Wither action?
By molding industry-oriented public servants, we may see better responsibilities and professionalism among them. They may even turn out to be industry-leading leaders in their own right – respected not just by their private sector counterparts locally, but maybe even internationally.
With such caliber and stature, they may rightfully sit-in for their political masters. But, this is just not happening.
The situation is stark. ‘Real’ talent and diligence is only shown to impress the political leaders and not the public to whom they serve.
In the U.S., the fact that the country does not even have a ministry of youth and sports did not mean that their sports industry is lame and amateurish. On the contrary, it is because they are professionals, which start from not having a ministry for sports and just allow true grit to excel and make the grade.
Malaysia is a small country, yet it has 27 ministries and given such a situation, how to free the way for us to be a developed country? Unfortunately, too, this is mostly seen in the economic sense and not in the social and cultural sense.
Ironically, when the first Malayan government was formed it had only seven ministers, which were basic and this was deemed by the leaders then to be sufficient to develop the country.
But as the country grew more developed, more and more ministries were created to the extent that they tended to overlap each other in duties and jurisdiction.
Then, politics came into the picture, leading to the creeping-in of sycophants, half-baked and unqualified individuals to man the all-important public-oriented ministries.
In the end, those who trusted themselves to the political stage and having thick skin enough seemed to succeed, albeit for themselves, while those who have far more superior academic and professional qualification plus experience were relegated to the sidelines to marvel at the horrendous state of affairs.
The country does not deserve this.
Mansor is the only Ivy League-trained filmmaker of Malaysia who majored for his Masters of Fine Arts degree at ColumbiaUniversity in New York City. And he was a contemporary of former US President Barack Hussein Obama. His first feature, Seman: A Lost Hero created Malaysian film history for getting a nomination for best film in any film festival in Europe. He will be showing his works in Finland in January next year. He hopes to create an unusual world record in world cinema by producing a film called ‘Malaysian Snow’ that will be shot in 50 countries.)