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Monday, August 29, 2011

Wikileaks: Recalcitrant civil servants in Pakatan's Selangor

The Pakatan Rakyat government of Selangor faced difficulties with "recalcitrant state civil servants" months after the March 2008 general election in which it took over the nation's richest state.

A leaked US State Department cable quotes state executive councillor Dr Xavier Jayakumar describing "difficulties in dealing with recalcitrant state employees".

xavier jayakumar pc 190110 01These employees, the report quotes Jayakumar (left) as saying, were "tied to (former) Prime Minister Abdullah (Ahmad Badawi's) BN government, and BN efforts to set up parallel government structures to divert funding away from state channels".

The diplomatic note sent by the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to the State Department in Washington, released last Friday by whistleblower portal Wikileaks, said he complained in September 2008 that civil servants had "developed deep allegiances" to the former Umno-led government.

Jayakumar confided that senior state employees were defying the Pakatan government's orders not to demolish any places of worship or erect new advertisement billboards, as there have been numerous complaints of money from these billboards being channelled into private accounts.

The Seri Andalas assemblyperson had also said, in his meeting with the US ambassador to Malaysia on Sept 11 that year, that "many state-level employees" were "paid and administered by the federal government", thereby, limiting the state's authority over them.

'Parallel government'

Among the serious concerns communicated was the federal government's move to set up a "parallel government" by appointing pro-BN village heads at grassroots levels and creating federal agencies that would be the conduit for federal-funded government projects.

Although there was no apparent sign of the federal government slashing funds provided to the state, there was, however, a "strategy" to divert projects and contracts from state-owned agencies.

Nevertheless, Selangor could sustain on its own as the state contributed 30 percent to the country's GDP and had its own funds, Xavier is quoted as saying in the diplomatic note.

The US ambassador pointed out in the report that Pakatan's governance of Selangor would have "more national resonance" compared with development in the other opposition-held states, considering that the state was located in the country's economic and political centre.

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