I left the public service more than a decade ago. By now I thought I'm terribly outdated. But..every now and again I hear the public service grappling with problems we grappled with years ago, as if nothing had changed.
Paklah our PM had just asked that the Quality Control Circle(QCC) be introduced again in the public service ( Speech in NS on August 23). That's when groups of workers sit together to discuss major problems and trace their relationships using the fishbone concept in order to tackle the problems from tail to head. The MOP approach ( Manual of Office Procedures) and Checklist system were insisted on again just sometimes back. Productivity increase was insisted on again and again, ad nausea.There also was the Star Rating System to track and evaluate the performance of Ministries and Department...and the Micro Accounting System suggested by Tun Mahathir ( exPM) which never saw the light of day, because the Chief Secretary to Government then could not fathom what that was.
There were enough management tools even then to track a technical or human malfunction before it stalls normal service operations. But now there are the computers( e-mail, on-line services, internet etc.) the mobile phones, and other nonasecond eletronic gadgetaries that can enable a public servant to operate even from their homes while on leave without moving their oversized bums.But....the bureaucracy moves as slovenly as before, if we are to go by the calls to higher productivity and better quality of work that we constantly hear from the national leaders and the public.
And...corruptions goes on in the midst of delays and bureacratric intricacies which allow "the pocket Napoleans" (or blood suckers!) to flourish. If all procedures in govenment are made simple and transparent, traceable on the computer by anyone,
I'm sure all unjustifiable delays and the opportunity to "make money" on them, will slowly diminish. If all decisions are recorded on computerised minutes which can be made accessable to authorised parties, it would be very easy to trace who made what decision and when in order to pinpoint who had used the decision to his or her advantage to make some quick bucks.
I wonder if all senior government officers are now computer literate and functional? To me this ability is more important than passing the PTK (Penilaian Tahap Kecekapan) and other memory-based examinations. As we know there are two kinds of knowledge. One is what you know and carry in your head. The other is to know where to find the information that you want qickly and efficiently. The computer is an extension of the first and a means for the latter.
So, the QCC should now be turned into " Quick Computer Consultation" whilst internal office problems should be dealt with
at the interpersonal level through Face-to-Face Interaction ( FFI). How about that, YAB?