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Saturday, June 29, 2019

I told Harapan ministers not to go on ego trip: Rafidah Aziz

Pakatan Harapan ministers should treat civil servants as friends rather than making enemies of them, said former trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz.
Speaking at a forum in Petaling Jaya today, the longest-serving woman MP related how she was invited to give a talk to the newly-minted cabinet members, their deputies, wives and support officers in December last year.
Rafidah, famously known as the "Iron Lady" for her tough stance at the international negotiating tables, said she had advised them against going on an "ego trip" after having won the election.
She said she advised this as she believed that power had gotten to the heads of some of the ministers.
"I gave them what I thought what they (ministers) needed to know. I told them congratulations for being ministers, for forming the new government but don't go on an ego trip.
"That was my first sentence (during the talk)," Rafidah said during the question-and-answer session after the forum organised by Gerak and Patriot.
She was answering a question from the floor on civil servants purportedly working against the new ministers instead of helping them.
She told the audience at Universiti Malaya that the ministers were also told to take an example from what happened to corrupt politicians.
"I said don't surround yourselves with cronies. Surround yourselves with civil servants who know the job and can advise you.
"Not that these people (the ministers) have not been told. (But) some are degil (stubborn)," she said.
Rafidah added that civil servants, on the other hand, should not be allowed to digress in their duty regardless of their seniority.
"Because you can't have wrong examples set by so-called seniors. They are supposed to guide the ministers if they are new or stupid."
The issue of some Harapan ministers not getting along with civil servants in their ministries had been dogging the new administration since they took over Putrajaya last year.
It came to a point when Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that certain quarters, including those in the civil service, were unhappy with the Harapan administration due to its efforts to combat corruption.
In explaining the government's move to "clean up" its agencies and departments, Mahathir had previously claimed that a culture of sabotage existed among civil servants.
In March, his deputy Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail reminded civil servants of different political affiliations not to sabotage the government but serve the people.
Mahathir's confidante Daim Zainuddin, however, later warned the new administration to start trusting civil servants if it wished to ensure political longevity. - Mkini

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