February 27, 2016
Message to Malaysian Civil Servants—Stand Up and be Counted
by Pola Singh
Malaysian Civil Servants–Pak Turuts and Pak Hunggoks
FOR some unexplained reason, civil servants are reluctant to be seen with the rakyat in championing certain causes; no matter how worthy they are. Something is preventing them from showing their support.
Take for instance preserving and protecting the remaining green lungs in KL city; Bukit Kiara (BK) located in the heart of the city is a good example.
At the national level, the Cabinet in 2007 agreed to gazette 189 hectares to turn it into a public park. But things moved at a snail’s pace with parcels of land being given out to the well-connected through the years.
We now learn that the Government will finally gazette Bukit Kiara next year and not surprisingly only 159ha will be gazetted. The rakyat is also not sure whether this hectarage figure will remain intact when it comes to crunch time.
So in order to send a strong message to the powers that be to uphold their promise to gazette Bukit Kiara speedily, Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK) has so far organised three “Save Bukit Kiara” walks. Although a sizeable crowd turns up, there are hardly any civil servants participating in such an event. Why? If they don’t seem to be interested, why are the heads of departments not encouraging their officers and staff to support such worthy causes especially when they are in line with their own policies and what they expound.
For instance agencies such as the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and ministries such as the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry have formulated clear green and environmental policies while City Hall (DBKL) and Jabatan Landskap Negara have developed the KL Master Plan to implement.
When announcing the sound policies, promises are made and assurances given that they will actively engage the key stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the policies.
But when such opportunities arise they are nowhere to be seen. It appears as if they are disinterested to push forward their policy agenda.
Now it looks like that only the NGOs and public support such causes while the policy formulators who should be actively involved at the ground level appear indifferent.
Why are the civil servants so reluctant to turun padang but instead seem content watching from a distance? After all it is their cause that the rakyat is supporting. By right they should be turning up in full force as well as helping in organising such events.
Is it fear? Are they afraid for reasons best known to them, to be seen mingling with personalities from NGOs? Or could they think that they might incur the wrath of certain well-connected people? Or is it simply a case of plain apathy?
Whatever it is, the mind-set has to change. Heads of departments should encourage their officers and staff to take part in such meaningful events as well as intermingle with like-minded rakyat. More importantly these departments and agencies must walk the talk.
On an individual personal basis and as a concerned citizen, aren’t they prepared to play their part to protect and preserve the green lungs so that their children, grandchildren and future generations can enjoy what they are currently enjoying.