In all developed nations there are a number private and voluntary organizations which play a vital role in promoting the welfare of the country and society. They play a great role in the economic, business, industrial and social development of the country, with their own funding and organizational ability.
These bodies usually cooperate but work outside the government administrative infrastructure. They may get some assistance from the government but do not come under the directive of the government. They are independent and make their own decisions.
Such is the case with the trade unions, the various business, industrial and financial associations, and numerous professional groups or associations. They do sometimes act as a countervailing power to the government when there's no effective opposition to evaluate and criticize government's action.
The government is of course free to befriend any private or voluntary organization, give financial assistance and seek its support in whatever program the government is launching. Or on the other hand to contain its activities if they go against the interest of the government. The big question is: to what extent can government assist such bodies financially or provide funding for its activities from the public coffer? Providing some special funding for specific purposes approved and supported by government isokay. Such approval goes through the normal budgeting process.
But can and should government allocate public funds to a private and voluntary organization as if it's a part of the government apparatus? Furthermore can such bodies use public officials to administer and promote its activities which lie outside the scope of normal governmental operations or represent government on an official basis? Can government premises be used for the operations of such private and voluntary bodies? When all the answers are 'yes' what makes the private or voluntary organization private or voluntary as different from a normal government agency?
If such private and voluntary organizations are allowed to take over some of the government's functions then goverment rules and regulations will be thrown to the dogs. Such fear had cropped up when the privatization of some government services was embarked upon some years ago. The privatized agencies function outside government control since they finance themselves.
But as we all know many run into problems and the government had to bail them out. It ends up with the government coughing out huge sums of public money to support their operations. These privatized agencies are known to be quite lavish in their spending, pay their staff high salaries, and escape all forms of review by the government itself. When faced with financial problems they just seek government's help or raise the charges that they impose on the public for the services they provide.
How much is this costing the government and the public today? And now we have private or voluntary organizations functioning very much like government agencies but not placed directly under government control. Is this another form of privatization? These include the association of VIP's wives and and other associations involved in promoting
the interest of bright but disadvantaged children. With all these extra-governmental activities going on, it might perhaps be better if the civil service is reduced to a minimum and more of the services be handed over to private organizations run on public funding. Another way of doing it is to allow politicians and private sector people to head all the important posts in government services as chosen by the political bosses in power. Or to emulate the American system of administration, important public posts can be filled in by popular votes. These include the post of the Chief Secretary to Government, the Inspector General of Police, the Attorney General etc.
The public and civil service in Malaysia has increasingly been overshadowed and denuded by the authority of the political masters. The privatized agencies have taken over many of the functions the civil service used to be responsible for. When will a new evaluation be made as to what the civil service should continue to do and the rest of the functions be handed over to the private sector or the government sponsored private and voluntary organizations?