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Friday, November 18, 2016

Confessions of a politically-awakened civil servant



I write this as I am waiting for the next Komuter train to KL Sentral. I plan to join other Bersih rally-goers there to show my support for the electoral reform movement.
I do not have a yellow Bersih shirt though, nor do I have any yellow apparel. Instead, I have taken pains to not look like a Bersih supporter.
There are numerous Bersih groups of about 10 people each, waiting for the train. Some are chatting excitedly, others look wary and apprehensive. I am not in any of those groups. That’s because I am a civil servant.
My department director (I shall not mention which department) has issued a very stern threat, promising harsh disciplinary action for any civil servant caught joining the rally. That is why I have to be extra vigilant. Some would call me paranoid, but I know that if I get caught, if even on camera, I risk losing my job and causing my family and dependents lots of trouble.
Such is the dilemma a civil servant is placed in. We too are politically informed. We too understand the depths of corruption government has descended to. But to have your life overturned from just one act of free expression is no small matter. Thousands of government servants are now performing a certain mental calculus as they weigh the benefits of exercising their rights as citizens against the risks of having their careers destroyed.
I have chosen to fight for a better Malaysia, and I know I am not alone. I trust that like me, many other civil servants are in the shadows, quietly but determinedly rooting for Bersih. I write this as an anonymous call to other like-minded civil servants. Come out and take a stand. Malaysia needs your courage and strength. Let’s build a better Malaysia for this generation and the next. After all, isn’t that the core objective of public service?- Mkini

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