21 May 2007

Pay Rise: Civil servants can do better


By: Azmi Atan, Petaling Jaya

I WANT to see whether the promises made by Cuepacs that public servants will raise productivity and reduce graft will be met after the government announces the salary revision.

While civil servants are generally doing their job, there are many weaknesses.

Can Cuepacs guarantee that the public would be quickly served when they come to government departments and agencies? If the public calls, will the phone calls be promptly answered?

I believe that while saying "yes" is easy, doing it is not.

While I don’t want to generalise that all civil servants are unproductive, it is not easy to be rid of old habits, even if their salary has been revised.
And what happens if the desired quantum is not granted? I fear civil servants will become more unproductive. While there are many good civil servants who give their best, there is a significant number who frustrate the rakyat.

I hope the government will also monitor the Land Office. It is hard to do business there unless you know somebody, or engage runners who deal with certain officers there.

I have heard stories of people having to wait months or years to change their land titles or make simple amendments.

Land Office staff also cannot be pressed or pressured as they dictate terms.

Some officials there are making extra money by expediting certain files. That is why certain applications are quickly approved and some take months or years.

If money changes hands, then the matter will be quickly resolved. This may sound harsh, but go to the Land Office and witness the working environment there.

I have mentioned only one agency. I may not be totally right, but I want to know whether civil servants would be better public servants after the salary revision.

The people have been deprived of good services at some agencies for too long. These are the people whose vote will help the government in the general election.

At the same time, I must commend a great number of civil servants for their dedication and hard work. These are the people who make us thankful and proud.

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