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10 APRIL 2024

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Govt agencies need effective heads, not monitoring

Writer says plan for National Integrity and Management Department is a waste of money as it willl suffer same fate as Pemandu, with highly-paid staff but little to show.
By TK Chua
We are now in the midst of setting up yet another agency, the National Integrity and Management Department (JITN), within the Prime Minister’s department.
This new agency is supposed to focus on “administrative issues, delivery and governance, among others, as part of Putrajaya’s Government Transformation Programme (GTP)”.
I wonder when the baloney will end. We now need a new agency to ensure that administrative matters, delivery service and governance standard are adhered to. A few years back, we set up Pemandu with great pomp, purportedly to establish KPIs for all heads of departments and their respective agencies.
I had said then it was a waste of time and money to set up an agency to monitor another agency. If Pemandu had been effective with its KPI and GTP, why do we need JITN now?
Sorry for being harsh, I am going to say now JITN will end up suffering the same fate as Pemandu – an agency staffed by three-piece suit executives but with nothing much to show.
If a head of agency does not know his KPI, it is either he is totally incompetent or the agency under his care is devoid of a clear mission or objectives.
Similarly, why do we need another agency to monitor the administrative capability, service delivery and governance standard of another agency?
How did this come about – we run an agency but have no idea how the agency should be administered, its service delivery monitored or its governance standard adhered to?
How do we justify high positions and lucrative salaries to heads of agencies then?
Heads of agencies must think, formulate, and work. They must be accountable and be able to deliver. They are not titular heads.
MACC chief commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad, for example, must account and explain its actions or inaction to the government, the parliament and the people on “the state of corruption” in the country.
As the head of the MACC, he does not need his KPI established by someone from outside the agency. Neither does he need someone to tell him the administrative prowess, governance standard or service delivery of his agency. If he doesn’t know, he doesn’t deserve to be there.
Reporting to another agency is quite nonsensical. It serves no purpose other than creating another layer of excuse.
I think the MACC chief is correct to hit out at the proposal to set up JITN although the manner in which he said it could have been more fitting.
Heads of agencies do not openly question or dispute cabinet decisions harshly. That is one of the cardinal principles of our system of government.
He could have provided his input through proper channels and leave the rest to the opposition or the people.
I am doing my part – the government has set its priorities upside-down. It is wasteful and it will be ineffective to set up another agency to monitor the existing agencies. I support the views of MACC on JITN.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.

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