Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Direct Entry into the Civil Service.

PM’s announcement that the ‘best brains’ will be brought into the civil service to fill in key posts signifies the opening up of the civil service to direct entrees from the private sector. The Public Services Department and the Administrative and Diplomatic Service personnel ( the former Malaysian Civil Service elites) have opposed this move since after Independence.

The recent appointment of RTM’s Director-General from someone outside the broadcasting services, seems to herald this new move. We can be certain that the RTM’s staff will protest for it takes away the highest position in the service from their reach. It will stall several upward movements in the service, thus affecting many and not just one person. The staff of many departments in the government such as the Department of Health, Printing, Forest, Environment etc will be certainly be subjected to this fear.

As an ex-ADS personnel, I only support this move as a remedy to overcome the failure of the civil service to get their men trained and ‘developed’ in the best way possible. We have seen many cases of the best candidates for certain posts being sidelined and given to less-than-capable favorites. Understudies are not given the best of training and exposure so that they will be more than ready when the time comes for them to take over from their bosses. It’s often that favorites of the power–that-be will be lined up to take over a top post while capable subordinates are passed over.

The current need is the result of a failure to train people for the right job projected well into the future and giving them the best of conditioning and exposures. The whole program for specialization in the civil service failed because personnel trained for certain jobs are pushed around elsewhere to accommodate certain favorites.

It is this which had affected the higher civil service very negatively. I hope the injection of fresh blood from outside the service would break the rigid adherence to the scheme of service with meager remunerations, and block the incompetents from occupying the cushy jobs at the top of the services. But the demotivating effect of the direct entry system must be overcome by adjusting the salaries of the subordinates when a new boss comes in with a fat pay. It will be preposterous if he alone enjoys anincome far in excess of that enjoyed by his subordinates who belong to the regular service.

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