Task Force for Everything and yet No Outcome/Action

August 15, 2013

Task Force for Everything and  yet No Outcome/Action

by R. Nadeswaran @ http://www.sundaily.my


HERE’S a new cure-all phrase which the creators believe will cast a magic spell on those who come across it. That phrase, if used on certain sections of the community, will compel them to understand and accept that something is being done and a solution has been found.

That phrase is called “task force” and it is increasingly being used, more often than at the drop of a hat. Is there a problem? Then, just utter the words “we are setting up a task force” and that would make the populace have faith in the system. Really?

That’s what the authorities have been doing crisis after crisis but not getting the desired results. Of course, the whole idea is that over time, Malaysians tend to forget the real issues as new ones come to the forefront.

A task force can be described as a “temporary group of people formed to carry out a specific mission or project, or to solve a problem that requires a multi-disciplinary approach.”

But in Malaysia, we even have “super task forces” which supplant the plain and ordinary task force.

In 2009, in the wake of a special report by the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and legal firm Skrine, the government appointed an 11-member super task force, headed by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, to restore the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project and identify measures for its development.

The task force was among others required to determine the type of misconduct or criminal element on the part of individuals or entities involved in the project and recommend actions to be taken against them.

He said the task force would submit reports to the government within six months, and from time to time, would call in the parties concerned to seek their explanation.

It would also assess PKA and PKFZ’s financial situation, prepare a restructuring plan for the PKFZ, formulate business models for the PKA and PKFZ, and recommend strategic plans to attract investors.

Mohd Sidek retired last year and that’s the last we heard of the super task force. We don’t know for sure if reports were submitted to the government, but we do know that no one was summoned to appear before the panel.

Let’s look at some of the more popular task forces set up:

  • Early this year, Bank Negara Malaysia set up a high level multi-agency special task force to reduce illicit financial flows. The task force comprised the Attorney-General’s Chambers, customs, police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Inland Revenue Board, immigration and the bank. Its role is to spearhead more effective coordination and collaboration among key law enforcement authorities in the country as well as between local and international enforcement agencies to mitigate illicit activity and financial flows.
  • A special task force was set up in December 2012 to monitor all hill slope zone development built before 2010 with extra attention given to embankments and retaining walls. The Public Works Department was to work closely with the Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram) and City Hall to create a hazard map to identify all dangerous hill slope zones in the city.
  • A special task force was set up in 2012 to ensure that Singaporean companies which relocate or set up shop in Iskandar Malaysia would not pose a threat, but complement local SMEs. International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said while the government was encouraging investments from Singapore companies, the local SMEs could rest assured that this move would not put their businesses at risk.
  • The Special Implementation Task Force (cabinet committee on the Indian community, Prime Minister’s Department) was established in June 2010 to monitor and strengthen delivery and implementation of public sector services and programmes.
  • A special task force to be set up under the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry would work with the Pahang government to tackle the widespread ravage of Cameron Highlands.
  • The government set up a national task force last week to look into the implementation of recommendations made by Suhakam in its national inquiry report concerning land rights of indigenous peoples. The task force will be led by Integrity Institute of Malaysia chairman Mohd Tap Salleh and made up of government and NGO representatives from peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.

Now in the wake of the shootings and upheaval caused, more task forces are being set up. The illicit outflows continue, landslides caused by hillside development are taking place and illegal land clearing is being carried out.

Will these task forces end up like scores of other such groups of the past? Will the task forces be transparent or will they sweep everything under the carpet? Will we, the rakyat, ever know the truth?

R. Nadeswaran is amused at the pace in which task forces are being set up and wonders if they produce the desired results. Comments: citizen-nades@thesundaily.com


15 thoughts on “Task Force for Everything and yet No Outcome/Action

  1. Seems we are never short of ideas but always fall short of having the will to implement. Might be too much of cronies’ interests at stake.

  2. Well.., citizen Nase, a task force, special or not – is bureaucratic-speak from flakes who actually can’t tell their left foot from their right. Otherwise known as procrastination in hope of solution – i.e forget it! Other ways of putting it are: NFA, sweeping under the carpet, whitewashing and so on..

    To these flurs, the only absolute urgent and abominable thing nowadays, is their need to frighten and cow the rural folk into further subservience – ‘cuz they’re the sort of slaves who erroneously think they are the masters. Why else all the hoary perceived jibes, taunts, vitriol, scorn and curses hurled at ‘Others’? That is the true meaning of DISGRACE.

  3. When you set up a task force then you reconise that some thing is wrong and it needs fixing.but it is not a passpot to continue to make the same mistake by keeping the same people in positions where they can harm the proper functioning of that organisation.Failue to address isues because my uncle has been appointed as a Principal Special Assistant commmits two wrongs. One failure to correct the peoblem an dthe other appointing mu uncle as Principal Special Assistant.

    In the 60s such behaviour by those in power would have been met with the full face of the law. How did we get to this point. If Malaysia wants to become a successful nations then those in position must lead by example and play by the book. Pmimpin Melaui Teladan has become a ksong slogan.

  4. The problem is the purpose of much of everything the govt does is for political purposes, NOT governance. There is no separation of the political party and govt. The way separated party and govt is suppose to work is that the party HAS to make governance its priority and punished for being over-political. So there is too much cosmetic of governance which mean governance take a back seat and politics always is No 1. Hence all these “task force” is because the fundamental governance is all rotten and they are are constantly running around making groups to fix it or more accurately to cover it up..

  5. The setting up of Task Force is already an incorrigible culture in the government. It has been there since umpteen years ago. If RCI recommendations in IMPC can be done away by the government , what can one expect from a Task Force? Problems or incidents happen , form Task Force and over time all are forgotten. Is there a record of the number of Task Force set up and their outcome? Probably zero. Task Force – no Force to do the Task !!!!

  6. Yes, Alias, the Rakyat need to set up the Mother of Task Forces to fight all BN’s task forces. As far as UMNO Baru is concern, any ‘force’ they set up is just tasked with a mission to camouflage their sins.

  7. Whenever a task force team is formed, it is always composed of decorated persons or someone who has had occupied an important position in the public or private sector. If you look at their ages, they may all be well over 60year old and located at different parts of the country, either retired or actively working or in business. We expect these people to get together as often as possible to attend meetings and discussions. Since all of them are of equal status, even the Chairman finds it hard to instruct the others what to do. With few among them constantly travelling in an out of the country often, how can we ever expect them to serve as a valuable members of a Task Force Team or complete the task before the timeline?.

    Why can’t the Government consider using the services of a younger set of aggressive people with specialised experience and skills in a particular field and appoint them on the Task Force Team? Let them take up the task as a National Service. It also offers a good name to the company they are employed in.

    Why waste valuable funds on forming regular task force teams from time to time.

  8. Task Force is a good idea in a responsible government which will use the acquired information to improve its performance.
    in indecent governments, like ours, the task force is used to win time and let grass grow over it. in these cases it becomes a Task Farce.
    or it becomes a Tusk Force when a government instead of solving problems charges at the people like an elephant in musth, see whats happening in Egypt.

  9. Alias Zee, your tongue-in-cheek suggestion for the Opposition to set up a task force to monitor the government’s task forces is actually a knuckle-rap.

    Nades should at least point an accusing finger at PR for failing to do their job on behalf of the rakyat. Questions should have been asked in the House.

  10. the umno/bn regime can appoint a task force for everything because ultimately we’ll be paying for it.
    who is going to finance the task forces of PR, the federal government?

  11. Citizen Nades,great . They have the task in hand but the Force is a farce.As usual they lack the political will. Now the Police force is hunting the criminals in a serious manner and let’s hope the Force will be forceful and stay on course. Otherwise it will be another same old story. Kita ta ada staminah, so no force lah. Like poor Chong Wai recently.

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