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Monday, July 26, 2010

There are ‘little Napoleans’ in civil service, Khairy agrees

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin today appeared to side with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in its war against the civil service when he agreed with the federal opposition that there were “little Napoleans” in the civil service who were politically motivated when carrying out their duties.

He claimed that these civil servants occasionally practised “favouritism” when making considerations over applications for government contracts or licences.

“I would like to say here that like it or not, there are ‘little Napoleans’ in the civil service who merely act under certain motivations,” he said in his blog entry today.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, in his ongoing tiff with the civil service had referred to State Development Officer Nik Ali Mat Yunus as a “little Napolean”, claiming this was because the federal officer refused to work with the Pakatan Rakyat government.

Khairy (pic) said that it was these “little Napoleans”, and not just politicians, who were partly to blame for the alleged cases of abuse of power in the civil service.

“The reality is that the civil servants, in playing ‘favouritism’, cannot be separated from the supposed cases of abuse of power (in the awarding of contracts),” he claimed.

The Rembau MP added that he fully supported the government’s directive in ordering civil servants to report to their superiors if they knew of cases where politicians attempted to influence the awarding of contracts to their cronies but insisted that some blame should be placed on the civil servants.

“I support this effort to combat corruption and to prioritise merit and needs in any application made to the government.

“We are aware that in the past, there were cases where only applicants with political connections were granted government contracts on the basis that they had the support of a certain politician,” he said.

The directive was issued via a recent circular from the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan in a bid to stop contracts from only being granted to the well-connected few.

The directive covers recommendations made by politicians in all forms whether written, spoken, emailed, through a teleophone call or an SMS that said “please consider”, “strongly recommended” and “I have no objections” in applications for contracts, permits, licences, citizenship and scholarship awards.

In the circular, Mohd Sidek also said that applications should only be approved based on merit and not political connections.

“However, in my experience as an elected representative, I am also aware that not all of those who come to me to seek for recommendation letters are those who were unqualified or were relying on political connections to obtain approvals.

“In truth, there are several cases where the applicants were clearly qualified but were forced to ask for such letters from me as their MP because their applications had failed due to bureacratic weaknesses,” Khairy explained.

He claimed that he had no connection with such applicants, pointing out that that they had merely been able to approach him at his service centre in Rembau.

“Hence, it is not true to say that every recommendation letter written by a politician is a form of ‘abuse of power’ and is written only for his acquaintances. Oftentimes, these letters are given on the capacity of a person whom, as an elected representative, was only carrying out his duties to help those who had not been given fair consideration in the first place,” said Khairy.

He claimed that so long as such “little Napoleans” existed in the civil service, the duties of an elected representative to help the people should not be rejected or misconstrued as “abuse of power”.

“It is not my intention to insult the civil service. On the contrary, I am confident that many of them have high integrity and honesty. However, as long as this ‘little Napolean’ phenomenon exists, we cannot reject the role of the elected representative,” he said.

Khairy suggested that if civil servants were allowed to report every recommendation letter written by elected representatives, then it would only be fair for the latter group to be allowed to extend an application to the relevant government agency if they felt that it had been unfairly rejected in the first place.

“This method would help in monitoring cases of abuse of power among those with political connections as well as to combat corruption in the civil service,” he said.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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