Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ministers as Technocrats.

As the world Cup moves to Quarter final on July 4th staging France vs Germany and Brazil vs Columbia and 5th July staging Netherland vs Costa Rica and Argentina vs Belgium, Muslims will end their first week of fasting. The war in Iraq goes on with the Shias and the Sunnis going all out against each other while the Kurds look on. The sudden appearance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) with its proclamation of its leader as the Caliph of the Muslims, makes the entire situation in the Middle East more complicated and volatile.In Afghanistan the Talibans are coming back with renewed strength.

We in Malaysia are jolted by the news that there are four new militant groups operating in the country under the acronyms AKAW, BAJ, DIMzia and ADI. One of the suspects involved as a Tier One personality is a university professor, who had all these while used the university premise as a place to recruit and train new members.How such thing can happen without being detected until the groups had recruited so many followers, no one knows.The authorities in Malaysia seem to be in the habit of not letting the public know what dangers are building up around them until they cannot contain the news any longer. This include the fact that some Malaysian officers (civilian and military) posted overseas are not giving the country a good name.We only hear about them after that are hauled up in the court of the country where they served.
the suspects in Malaysia are being hounded

Once known as one of the most stable and peaceful countries in the world, Malaysia has indeed transformed itself. 'Malaysia boleh' as a slogan for promoting achievement in sports has become a mockery to mean that everything is possible in Malaysia. Through politics an almost unknown party leader can suddenly become a full minister without any experience in a lesser capacity such as a Political Secretary to a Minister or an Assistant Minister as used to be the case. This has led the Cabinet of Ministers to swell in number to 35, ten of whom are Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department. They were before called Ministers without Portfolio. The number of Assistant Ministers has increased too.
The 2013 Cabinet members and the additions

It looks as if the Ministers and Assistant Ministers are taking over the job of senior technocrats and professional administrators. In the olden days Minister consulted and sometime sought the views and advice of senior officials before making an important policy decision.By doing so all the untended consequence of any policy action can be removed or reduced to give the action maximum impact. Now it seems that the Minister will just consult his political boys and go a ahead with any plan of action. Civil servants and administrators just carry the instructions out.Do as told or get out. When things become a terrible mass or theunintended consequences bedevilled the entire program, only then will the administrators be called upon to solve the problem. Or otherwise they will be blamed for not implementing the program effectively.
The Civil Servants:Do as Told

There many other things that led to the mockery of the slogan 'Malaysia Boleh'. It reminds me of the one time popular Indoenisian saying "Bisa diurus, Pak." Everyone knows that even the almost impossible thing can happen here now if the price is right. I wonder if the 35 member Malaysian Cabinet - is that more than the number of Secretary Generals in the Government? - can wash away the mockeries and the insults that this country has brought upon itself in recent years. Malaysia is still a stable and progressive nation in spite of the mockeries and insults but we can certainly pull up far ahead of others without them.

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