Monday, April 29, 2013

Najib's Han Chiang Counteroffensive?

On 16 December 1944, a Nazi Germany besieged by its enemies on two fronts and facing inevitable defeat, launched a desperate offensive in the Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France and Luxembourg on the Western Front.

Wikipedia states: Germany's goal for these operations was to split the British and American Allied line in half, capturing Antwerp (port in Belgium) and then proceed to encircle and destroy four Allied armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis Powers’ favour. Once accomplished, Hitler could fully concentrate on the eastern theatre of war.

It was not only a desperate offensive but basically a salvage operations for Germany's interests. But it caught the Allies by surprise and provided the American military its bloodiest battle in Europe in WWII.

The German termed their offensive as Ardennenoffensive (Ardennes Counteroffensive). The US military also officially designated the battle as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, but due to a few technical-geographical anomalies and the preference of the American press, the conflict became more popularly known as The Battle of the Bulge, a description of how the Allied lines bulged inwards under the German offensive through the forested regions of the Ardennes.

Flash forward 70 years.

On 30 April 2013, a BN besieged by its enemies on several fronts and facing inevitable defeat, will launch a desperate offensive in the halls of Han Chiang College (HCC) in Penang on its North-Western Front.

The Malaysian Insider reported:

Najib, who is also BN chairman, is expected to grace the April 30 dinner event and to make two announcements to provide a fillip to the slow-starting Penang BN campaign.

“Najib will make two important announcements on Tuesday — restore Penang’s free port status and the approval of HCC as a university college,” Han Chiang’s honorary principal Datuk Dr Cheah See Kian was quoted as saying by theMalaysiakini news portal yesterday.

The PM had in February said Han Chiang’s application for the university college status will be considered, during the BN’s Chinese New Year bash on the grounds.

But Tan said today he was unable to confirm that Najib would be presenting Han Chiang with the promised university-college status.

“So far, we've not received any confirmation from the federal government, I only heard people talking about it,” he said.

If true, then the expected announcements will be very attractive. But the first issue that we should consider is whether the caretaker government under Najib can make these two announcements, namely, restoring Penang's free port status and approving  Han Chiang College as a university college?

I am not a lawyer but I checked up on the practice of a couple of Commonwealth countries like Australia and India, besides what Rocketkini publishes. There's not much difference as we may expect from our common Westminster democracy, but I choose to highlight the Australian code for caretaker government as it seems to be the clearest laid out, as follows:

Major policy decisions. The Government will cease taking major policy decisions except on urgent matters and then only after formal consultation with the Opposition. The conventions apply to the making of decisions, not to their announcement. Accordingly, the conventions are not infringed where decisions made before dissolution are announced during the caretaker period. However, where possible, decisions would normally be announced ahead of dissolution.

Significant appointments.
The Government will cease making major appointments of public officials, but may make acting or short-term appointments.

Major contracts or undertakings. The Government will avoid entering major contracts or undertakings during the caretaker period. If it is not possible to defer the commitment until after the caretaker period, for legal, commercial or other reasons, a minister could consult the Opposition, or agencies could deal with the contractor and ensure that contracts include clauses providing for termination in the event of an incoming government not wishing to proceed. Similar provisions cover tendering.

International negotiations and visits. The Government ordinarily seeks to defer such major international negotiations, or adopts observer status, until the end of the caretaker period.

Avoiding APS involvement in election activities. (APS or Australian Public Service is equivalent of our Malaysian Civil Service but not politically partisan like the Malaysian version, wakakaka) The Australian Public Service adopts a neutral stance while continuing to advise the Government. There are several cases, notably the pricing of Opposition election promises, in which the APS conducts an investigation and report for the benefit of the electorate at large.

Incidentally, read the part on '... in which the APS conducts an investigation and report for the benefit of the electorate at large'. That's what public (or civil) servant means. Here in Malaysia it's likely to be '... in which the MCS conducts an investigation and report for the benefit of UMNO', wakakaka and eat your hearts out Malaysians.

Anyway, let's start off with one of the two expected announcements, namely, Penang's free port status.

I believe the issue of Penang's free port status would fall under 'major policy decision' because it will involve taxes (government revenue), legislation and considerable resources to bring about and manage/control the free port.

Obviously Najib can't promise that. One question however - will it be within a caretaker government's right to slyly say 'I promise you that I will restore Penang's free port status ... with the agreement of Pakatan who I will consult as soon as possible and definitely after the election'?

Wakakaka, that will certainly put Pakatan, especially Lim Guan Eng, on the back foot. Maybe some legal experts can help here!

Just for discussions, let's assume it won't infringe the limitations of a caretaker government, and Najib makes the announcement about the free port status, insofar as Penangites are concerned, they will still assess how definite or how vague he presents the proposal, and with what strings attached.

They won't buy it if Najib says the free port status will only come with a BN state government, and believe me, that sort of 'lu tolong wa, wa tolong lu' announcement will be considered by Penang voters as insulting and thus rendering such a campaign offer politically counter-productive.

Ah Jib Gor, wakakaka

But while the free port status will be something nice to have, and even if true and can be implemented, it will only benefit Penangites. BN has a nation-wide problem, especially with the Chinese voters, so the free port promise will not have much value in boosting BN's prospects.

The more value-added promise will be the approval of Han Chiang College as a university college. Even then, it will be limited in its appeal, but let's not doubt that it may sway a few Chinese voters, especially the parents and students of HCC. I don't propose to discuss whether this approval will contravene a caretaker government's limitations for the obvious reason it's beyond my legal knowledge.

But look, if Najib really wants to break out of his 'Ardennes' like the German Army of 1944, and win over Chinese voters on both sides of the South China Sea, then he ought to arm himself with a powerful weapon that will shake Pakatan to its core, and give MCA orgasmic delights to no ends, if ...

... he were to announce that the government will, effective from 01 May 2013 [has to prior to the election otherwise the Chinese won't believe him, wakakaka) recognize the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) of the Chinese independent high schools.

I am not joking. Najib will win one hell of a backswing to the BN by many Chinese voters.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the UEM: 

The Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) is a standardized test for Chinese independent high school students organized by the UCSCAM* since 1975. The UEC is available in three levels: Junior Middle (UEC-JML), Vocational (UEC-V), and Senior Middle (UEC-SML). Examinations for the UEC-JML and UEC-V are only available in the Chinese language. The UEC-SML has questions for mathematics, sciences (biology, chemistry and physics), bookkeeping, accounting and commerce available in Chinese and English.

* The United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (UCSCAM, the association of Chinese school teachers and trustees, 马来西亚华校董事联合会总会, also known as the Dong Jiao Zong 董教总 coordinates the curriculum used in the schools and organizes the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) standardized test. Despite this, the schools are independent of each other and are free to manage their own affairs.

The UEC-SML is recognized as a qualification for entrance into many tertiary educational institutions around the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Australia, Canada and many others. It is not recognized by the government of Malaysia for entry into public universities, but most private colleges recognize it.

Because the UEC is not recognized by the Malaysian government, some Chinese independent high schools opt to teach the national secondary school curriculum (in Malay) alongside the independent school curriculum (in Chinese) and require students to sit for the government standardized tests (PMR, SPM or even STPM) as private school candidates, providing the students an opportunity to obtain government-recognized certificates.

says some UEC subjects not up to SPM standard

yet UEC recognized as a qualification for entrance into
many tertiary educational institutions around the world,
including the United Kingdom, the United States, Taiwan,
Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Australia, Canada etc

only Malaysia doesn't recognized it, hence above news headlines

Why do you think the Chinese have been pissed off with the BN when The UEC-SML is recognized as a qualification for entrance into many tertiary educational institutions around the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Australia, Canada and many others except the country of its origin Malaysia.

You work out the reason why the Malaysian authority choose to be the exception, and if you have difficulties doing so, just wait a wee while to read the case of the Indians and their problems with the Malaysian Medical Council in regards to their studies at the Crimea State Medical University.

According to Dr Kua Kia Siong in his book, Protean Saga: The Chinese Schools of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir as Education Minister must have hated the idea and existence of the UEC so much that when he heard about Dong Jiao Zong's plans for it, he summoned the Chinese educationalists to parliament and told the leaders "... that UEC had better not be held or else ... He did not ask for any response and dismissed the Chinese educationalists with a curt ... 'that is all'."

That was in 1975. Obviously Dong Jiao Zong didn't give two hoots to his nonsensical warning, and correctly so as the 60 independent Chinese high schools in Malaysia (with 23 in East Malaysia) have been funded privately by the Chinese community and philanthropists like the late Lim Lean Teng, who was Han Chiang's long time benefactor.

As for the Indians, note that in 2006 an UMNO Minister went to Ukraine to visit the Crimea State Medical University where many Malaysian students were studying there. He was reported to have said (words to the effect) “So many blacks here”.

Next, before we can say “Aiyoyo, black is beautiful lah”, our MMC issued a de-recognition of the Crimea State Medical University, just barely 4 years after it recognized it.

Malaysiakini reported that: Health Minister Dr Chua Soi Lek cited rape and threat incidents as grounds for the de-recognition but failed to furnish any details.

Chua said the government will not entertain appeals from CSMU as the university had not bothered to reply MMC’s earlier queries.

But the university has since denied all the allegations and provided Malaysiakini copies of a series of correspondence with the MMC since last August (2006).

In other words, the college was saying Dr Chua was 'not correct'.

So? Who’s bullsh*tting?

But the MMC couldn't explain why the de-recognition was not across the board. Certain parties’ degrees from the medical university were recognized whilst others (who came latter and were, according to the visiting UMNO minister, 'black') weren't.

Yes, what was the difference? Well, many suspected it was just pre and post “So many blacks here”.

For more, read:

(a) Malaysiakini's Samy to meet CSMU students.
(b) MMC checks race of Malaysian students at CSMU
(c) The Big Medical Lie and because Indians like to be lawyers, also

Can you see why very few non-Malay parents trust the government with their children’s education?

But regarding the UEC, I afraid poor Najib has to overcome his mentor Dr Mahathir's bitter objection if he wants to take up kaytee's suggestion and recognize the UEC, wakakaka.

Ni men hao ma? wakakaka

But by tackling what warms the cockles of the Chinese hearts, namely education, Najib will be on the right track. His only problem is credibility, to wit, how reliable will the Chinese view his promise? Thus it can't just be a promise to be effected only after the election, especially a conditional one.

As I mentioned, if he really wants to win over many of the Chinese (I dare not promise all Chinese, but certainly many Chinese, even if some Pakatan supporters may not agree with me), then he must make the recognition effective prior to the election.

Mind you, the Chinese voters can still play him out, wakakaka, but that's another issue and a risk he has to take.

I think he has some advisors who have guided him along this way because I read in TMI that In Kedah, BN ditches hudud for education, graft fight to win over Chinese

Now, as far as Chinese voters are concerned, that's more sensible where we read caretaker Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin saying before a crowd at Keat Hwa, a private secondary school in Kedah: “In Kedah, how many Chinese schools did the state government build and how much did allocation did they give? The federal government gave a lot, only last year it was RM500 million.”

many sweeties were educated here wakakaka

Better still (because today financial inducement won't work with the Chinese), he should have said: "We will recognize the UEC with effect from 01 May 2013", and he would have been far more popular with the Chinese than Najib or Anwar Ibrahim, though he would have to face Dr Mahathir's wrath, wakakaka!

It's not so much Chinese vernacular education per se that the Chinese had wanted in earlier years but GOOD education, education that was of a HIGH RELIABLE STANDARD. Today they still want education of a good and reliable standard, and they believe with the nonsense in national type schools including BTN-ized racism, they can only ensure their children receive those in Chinese vernacular schools.

That's right, to Chinese parents then, the medium of the learning/teaching itself was irrelevant. The Chinese just wanted and still want quality education for their children.

The belief that Chinese Malaysians have been/are chauvinistic in supporting vernacular education is incorrect. If so, why would most Chinese Malaysians in the 50s and 60s send their children to English medium schools?

You know, whenever we hear about Malay unity, the proposal invariably comes with mentions of Malay nationalism and Islam and possibly the position of the rulers, to wit, bangsa, agama dan raja. As for Indian unity, you work it out with Waythamoorthy and his brother and if you wish, MIC.

But with Chinese political unity, there was, is and can only be one topic - EDUCATION!

I believe the last and ONLY time Chinese Malaysians got together ‘politically’ was on 11 October 1987, just prior to Ops Lallang, and which event unfortunately led to that draconian ISA exercise.

And by getting together ‘politically', I meant a congregation organized by Dr Mahathir’s bête noire, wakakaka, the Dong Jiao Zong {comprising the Federation of Malaysian Chinese School Boards Associations (Dong Zong) and the Federation of Malaysian Chinese School Teachers Associations (Jiao Zong)} which brought together the MCA, the MCA's then real nemesis Gerakan, the opposition DAP and other Chinese-based parties (presumably SUPP etc).

Ops Lalang round up
I recognize Chandra Muzaffar and Bhai Karpal

As mentioned, nothing gets more under the skin of a Chinese Malaysian than their children's education, which I had often termed as one of the central pillars of Chinese culture.

Thanks then to a Minister of Education – aiyah, me no name him, OK? so no get mad with kaytee lah wakakaka – the Chinese community was really annoyed, nay, not just annoyed, but damn bloody furious with that minister's (wakakaka) appointments of around a hundred senior assistants and principals to vernacular Chinese schools.

Now, what actually infuriated the Chinese community, raising a 'storm of protest’, was the fact that those appointed were not Mandarin language educated. The Chinese community saw that as a deliberate attempt by that UMNO Education Minister, wakakaka, to dilute the high standards of Chinese vernacular schools.

Chinese community meant votes to MCA, Gerakan and the DAP, thus they united for a while in October 1987, not because of Chinese-ness but for Chinese concerns about their children's education.

Ironically the Chinese vernacular schools in the late '50s and early '60s were almost driven into extinction by the lack of Chinese support. That, the diminishing need by the pragmatic Chinese community for vernacular Chinese education and its eventual extinction or at least, near extinction, would undoubtedly have occurred except for the unpleasant fact of successive UMNO Education ministers and wannabe Education ministers (Dr Mahathir being one, and guess who’s the other? Wakakaka) turning Malaya/Malaysia's once-famed education system into a dirty political football, one that was kicked and thrashed around for their grubby political interests.

For more on how UMNO Education ministers had ‘saved’ Chinese vernacular education from extinction read my letter to Malaysiakini titled Chinese educationists must thank UMNO. Now, don't get angry with me wakakaka because that was written more than several years ago.

I concluded that letter with “The truth has been out there all this while”, meaning today's Chinese Malaysian obsession with Chinese vernacular education had its Genesis, not so much in ethnocentric cultural parochialism but more in ensuring good solid educational standards for their children - which is why, no apologies for evoking that phrase again, education has always been a central pillar of Chinese culture.

Yes, UMNO's repetitive nationalistic kicking of the education football had ripped the guts out of our once-famed national education system until Chinese parents have come to see the vernacular education system as the remaining hope for their children.

To cut a story short, thanks to UMNO Education Ministers pushing Chinese vernacular educationalists and Chinese parents together as a result of the country's worsening national education system, they ‘fell in love’ with each other. And the rest is history.

Thus it was UMNO which actually provided a vital lifeline to Chinese language schools, mind you, not directly or consciously but as a consequence of their Education Ministers' monumental f* up in our national educational system. Ironical, isn't it?

But from there, the Chinese vernacular system has incrementally metamorphosed from a purely issue of 'standards' into one of a cherished cultural identity, given the siege mentality the Chinese community has been indoctrinated with over the last 40 years.

The rejection of English as the language for Science and Maths was also been driven by a perception of fear and suspicion that the UMNO-led authority has planned to sabotage the high 'standards' of the Chinese vernacular system, especially on the teaching of Science and Maths subjects. It doesn't help when virtually everyone knows Science and Maths aren't exactly the ideal or correct vehicles for the learning of English language.

So I come to my final bit, my dear Najib - if you want to be like Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt conducting the German offensive in its breakthrough the Ardennes, you will be on the right track if you announce at the BN gala dinner in Han Chiang on 30 April 2013 that the UEC will be recognized with effect from 01 May 2013.

End note: The German offensive Ardennenoffensive failed, but gave the Allies a great fright and a bloody experience.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Professionalism missing in Malaysia's Sir Humphrey?

There is yet another excellent article in Malaysiakini by Dr Bridget Welsh, an associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University. She is travelling around Malaysia to provide her GE13 analyses exclusively to Malaysiakini.

Her latest article is titled People or party? Wooing civil servants in which she wrote:

In caretaker Premier Najib Abdul Razak’s political targeting, one group has received special attention - civil servants. Why would those in the heart of government garner such special focus for an election? The reality is that in Malaysia’s close electoral races, civil servants can be decisive in shaping the final tallies. This is one of the groups that I will be highlighting as decisive in this campaign.

Over the past few years Najib’s administration has worked to stem the erosion of support from his traditional base of government employees with mixed results.

Civil servants make up 1.4 million voters, or 10.5 percent of the electorate. The civil service is made up of senior appointments, the police, army personnel, teachers, and a variety of industrial and manual (IMG) groups. There are also an estimated 657,000 government pensioners.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

There is an incorrect tendency to label all civil servants as pro UMNO, though it's true many are.

In fact, as mentioned by RPK, some civil servants provided (maybe still provide) him with information unfavourable to the BN government which they wanted exposed, indicating those civil servants were not supportive of BN.

My uncle who (postal) voted in 1969 as an army officer told me how a couple of army administrative officers (popularly known by the British Raj term of Admin-wallahs because our military was nurtured by the colonial British military), who administered the military postal voting process in May 1969, were urging the Malay soldiers to vote PAS and the non-Malays (in the non-RMR services) to vote DAP and Gerakan, wakakaka.

And as we have witnessed recently, PKR and PAS have a few senior (retired) military officers of flag rank (admiral, generals) in their membership. So not all civil servants or military members would automatically be pro UMNO. But to reiterate, the majority would be.

But yes, it can be said that most of the middle ranking and senior civil servants have favoured the conservative BN, in particular UMNO.

This is not be so strange as in most countries like Australia, Britain and USA, there is similar political proclivity, where their military stationed overseas would be expected to (postal) vote conservative (eg. Coalition in Australia, Conservative in Britain and Republican in USA), thus like their civilian counterparts, the military middle ranking and senior officers would be in general (but not completely) pro conservative (in Malaysia's case, UMNO).

Western Civil Services (except possibly in the USA)
are known to be professionally impartial

But I want to talk about a couple of things regarding our very much bloated civil service, probably the biggest civil service per population in the world. The last statistic for the Malaysia Civil Service (MCS) that I know is 1.3 million, equating that to approximately 1 civil servant for every 23 Malaysian citizens.

On that basis we should be well served, but I doubt you'd agree to this.

above was Malaysia's 2005 stats
Malaysia's population today is approx. 30 million
Its civil service is said to number at 1.3 million

Then, when you consider the police as part of the civil service and our disgraceful crime rates - in recent days we have had a mother, Irene Ong, stabbed to death in front of her daughter while they were out jogging, and just then we heard of the deputy DG of Custom, Shaharuddin Ibrahim, being assassinated in broad daylight in Putrajaya - you wonder WTF is going on with the Malaysian police?

It's little wonder Dr Welsh stated: The police force in particular remains the least trusted institution in the country, which is of concern given the persistence of high crime and the critical role this organisation is supposed to play in security ...

... and not just that, the police leadership show they are incompetent and not up to the task of public safety and security.

There is an Asian saying that fish rots from its head. I believe the only way to clean up the police force is to purge, just as a start, its top 3 layers of officers, namely, (i) IGP and DIGP, (ii) all Commissioners and (iii) all Deputy Commissioners.

And as a reminder, that's only the start. It annoys me considerably because Malaya-Malaysia ONCE had the best police force in Asia, bar none. The rot started about thirty years ago (or slightly earlier) and one can only lament at how fast the deterioration in standards has set in, not only in the police force but the civil service in general.

Mind you, there still are some damn good civil service, police and military officers but their population is fast shrinking. Professionalism has given way to pariah-ism driven by corruption, incompetence and crony-ism.

Dr Mahathir's Operasi Isi Penuh in 1980 was, IMHO, a bad decision though he had embarked on that massive recruitment for the civil service in order to deal with unemployment during a period of economic depression. But in fixing a tactical problem he endowed us with a strategic headache.

My uncles told me that Operasi Isi Penuh was seen to be profligate in its implementation, where they recall department heads being urged and even pressured to 'top up' their staffing a.s.a.p.

I wonder whether such profligacy, as in our numerous cases of profligacy over the past 35 years, was an outcome from the curse of our considerable oil and gas assets. Would we have a far better though poorer Malaysia if we haven't have oil and gas, depending only on our rubber, tin, palm oil, cocoa and light industry as in the days of Tunku?

The end result of Operasi Isi Penuh only saw the humongous bloating of the civil service with its inevitable jatuh standard and, worse, an increasing (unmentioned but nonetheless official) trend towards ethnocentric recruitment, which was not just confined to the Malaysian Civil Service (including the Police) but the military as well.

There is a deliberate contrived myth, yes a myth, that the Chinese shun the Civil Service (including the police force) and the military because they prefer the lucrativeness of business rather than the staid salary of the public service, and that the civil service is an alien concept of employment to Chinese culture.

The latter, the civil service being an alien concept to Chinese culture, is 101% pure grade bullshit because the Chinese have in their several thousands of years of civilisation enjoyed (or suffered) from the Chinese civil service. In fact the Chinese invented the civil service.

sitting Imperial Exams to enter Imperial Civil Service - Sui Dynasty

This is what Wikipedia has to say:

The origin of the modern meritocratic civil service can be traced back to Imperial examinations founded in Imperial China. The Imperial exam based on merit was designed to select the best administrative officials for the state's bureaucracy. This system had a huge influence on both society and culture in Imperial China and was directly responsible for the creation of a class of scholar-bureacrats irrespective of their family pedigree.

Note the mention of 'meritocratic civil service' and the selection of 'the best administrative officials for the state's bureaucracy'!

From the time of the Han Dynasty (206 BC to AD 220) until the implementation of the imperial examination system, most appointments in the imperial bureaucracy were based on recommendations from prominent aristocrats and local officials whilst recommended individuals were predominantly of aristocratic rank. Emperor Wu of Han started an early form of the imperial examinations, transitioning from inheritance and patronage to merit, in which local officials would select candidates to take part in an examination of the Confucian classics. The system reached its apogee during the Song dynasty.

The Chinese civil-service system gave the Chinese empire stability for more than 2,000 years and provided one of the major outlets for social mobility in Chinese society.

The modern examination system for selecting civil service staff also indirectly evolved from the imperial one. This system was admired and then borrowed by European countries from the 16th century onward, and is now the model for most countries around the world.

So the myth about Chinese viewing the civil service as alien to their culture or career path is what it is, a myth that has been repetitively used by some people to explain why there are too few Chinese Malaysians in the Malaysian Civil Service, when of course the real reason is they were obstructed from joining or just not welcomed.

In March I have also posted Chinese policemen to show (a) firstly, Pak Kadir Jasin, a pro UMNO blogger, that he was wrong in his sly insult to Chinese on their purported 'reluctance' to join the police and military services to the nation, and (b) secondly, the blatant but perennial lie of this myth.

In that post I listed several Chinese policemen who gave their lives in the course of their service. Please read my post to know how many Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP) and Pingat Gagah Berani (PGB) were won by Chinese service personnel.

I also modified my post into a letter to Malaysiakini for wider readership as it's important to debunk the naughty but cheap racial insinuations.

Additionally, in February 2010, well known writer AB Sulaiman wrote in a Malaysiakini article titled Malay-dominated civil service no good to no one that:

Shagul Hamid Abdullah, director-general of the National Civics Bureau, wrote a sobering article in the Star (Jan 30) about the Malaysian civil service.

He claimed that in our history non-Malays had shown little interest in working in this sector due to two factors: the relatively low pay, and the perception of them having discriminatory career prospects.

I happen to have some direct and personal experience in government employment being a clerk in the Ministry of Finance in the mid-60s, and some three years later a civil servant in another government ministry. Based on this I feel qualified to dispute his twin contentions.

At the Treasury, I remember that the office staff had a good ethnic mix. Looking back, I'd venture the racial composition to be at about 30 percent Malay, another 30 percent Indian-Malaysian, 30 percent Chinese-Malaysian and the remaining 10 percent of other races.

Yes, ‘1Malaysia' had been with us before.

Many ethnic Indians were the descendants of the early indentured labourers from the estates. Government employment was their first stepping-stone of escape from the relative poverty of rubber estates.

In the case of the Chinese-Malaysians, they were also the children of struggling tin-mine labourers and yes, estate workers. Their parents or grandparents came into this country with hardly anything at all beyond a bundle of clothing.

The fact of the matter is that before Independence, most if not all of our parents and grandparents - the early Malaysians - were living in relative poverty.

In other words, everybody came from poor families. There was hardly any middle class then. The salary level might not be comparable to the private sector but was ‘adequate' and there is the coveted pension at the end of the day.

In any case, beyond the tin mines and estates, the private sector was limited in size and offering limited employment opportunities. Getting a government job was a highly favoured dream for all ethnic segments for it provided stable and secure employment.

The contention that non-Malays shunned government employment is not quite apt.

AB Sulaiman then said: Career advancement has been a problem for the non-Malays since the 70s and early 80s, ie the period of the NEP ...

... and if I may say, Operasi Isi Penuh.

I'd say that this period saw the birth of the ‘Malaysation' programme of the political leadership, later known by the label ‘Ketuanan Melayu.' This era saw the marginalising of non-Malays in government employment.

This self-proclaimed label has turned out to be the premise for the government's lower recruitment of non-Malays to government employment and sidelining those already in its employment.

Consider the following: 100 percent of vice-chancellors of public universities are Malays. 90 percent of University of Technology student enrolment is Malay. 90 percent of nurse and teacher intakes are Malay.

In short virtually all government or government-related bureaucracies and agencies were manned and meant for Malays, for their employment levels are in the higher 90 percent level.

Surely this collective situation is the direct result of the preferential treatment given to Malays in government recruitment. These figures are indicatives, but I believe not too far away from the actual, give or take a few percent.

Worse, I read sometime back that the government has made it a habit of even putting application forms from non-Malays into the dustbin.

So in more than one way, I suppose we have Dr Mahathir as the principal personality to thank for the beginning of the rot in our civil service.

Let's examine some lamentable products of the Malaysian Civil Service in recent times.

In June 2010, Malaysiakini’s Guan Eng wants SDO to explain arches fiasco reported Lim questioned the erection of two controversial arches on the way to the Penang Botanical Garden by the federal government.

The Penang state development officer (SDO), was Nik Ali Mat Yunos, a federal civil servant in charge of the project. Lim was so incensed by the arrogant non-accountability of the SDO that he remarked Nik Ali was "openly and blatantly" sabotaging the state government.

Lim stated: "He is like a little Napoleon in the civil service who gets high pay and does nothing for the people, but instead causes losses to them."

MKINI reported: Lim wants Nik Ali to come clean about the RM150,000 plus losses over the planned demolition of the two twin arches recently built for an expansion project under the Tourism Ministry. […]

Lim has taken offence with Nik Ali for refusing to explain who - which department, state or federal government - was responsible for the staggering losses.

Can you f* beat that, a civil servant refusing to account to the CM of a Malaysian State? What hope then do we earthly mortals have in terns of accountability from a Malaysian civil servant?

Would Nik Ali Mt Yunos dare to be biadap towards an UMNO MB like Khir
even if Khir were to present him with a broom for piss-poor performance?

"If he is willing to tell us that, we will not pursue the matter. Every sen counts, because it is a question of public trust," Lim added.

Lim has also seen red over a letter sent by the SDO's office dated Oct 13, 2009 to the Drainage and Irrigation Department, giving a "RM5 million ultimatum" to the state.

The letter states that the state would have to settle "pending issues" on the Botanic Gardens' facade and pavilion development, failing which, federal funding of RM5 million for the project would be withdrawn.

"This is an example of how the SDO's office is trying to rush development projects through without due consultation and feedback," said Lim.

As if that was not bad enough, the SDO responded by calling the Chief Minister 'biadap' - yes, believe it or not, a civil servant abusing a people's fully elected representative with the gross insult of 'biadap'.

Maybe he thought he was the great great great (ditto etc) grandson of Sultan Mansur Shah of Malacca with the powers to f* off Hang Lim GE?

But wait, there were more worse things! Against the very heart of civil service policy, he made his attack against a people’s representative at a gathering organized by UMNO, a political party.

I suppose a biadap, arrogant and politically biased person like him does not understand protocol, civil service etiquette, basic courtesy and the apolitical nature of the Malaysian Civil Service (MCS).

Maybe this bloke has been exactly whom former PM AAB had in mind when he termed some public servants as ‘Little Napoleons’.

Technically he should be chastised if not sacked in ignominy for violating the Civil Service code of conduct (many times over) by the Chief Secretary but as it’s obvious he’s allied to UMNO, it was hardly surprising that Mohd Sidek, the Chief Secretary, defended him instead.

wakakaka, waste of money printing this
those who are professional won't need it
those who aren't won't heed it

Given that this is Malaysia, it was not totally unexpected, but nonetheless the brazen disregard by Mohd Sidek of Nik Ali’s breach of the civil service code of conduct and sheer bad manners in his most unprofessional politically partisan behaviour was still breathtaking.

Tun Ghazali Shafie, one of the luminaries of the MCS would have turned in his grave in shame and despair at that example of gross pathetic and unprofessional standard of his once-proud service.

Also, read MIKINI’s (August 2010) New BN move ruffles feathers in Komtar penned by my Penang laang Susan Loone for more of the sabotaging nonsense, where the Penang state government had to get the approval of ‘coordinators’ when applying for housing and local government allocations.

But when the ‘coordinators’ were (are?) all BN politicians, some of whom were defeated in the 2008 general election, this meant that that f* little Napoleon introduced a procedure where the representatives elected by the rakyat had to go with begging bowl to those rejected by the rakyat.

And that’s the utter lack of professionalism of quite a few officers of the Malaysian Civil Service.

meritocracy has been declared missing for years

Anyway, sometimes when Dr Mahathir grumbled or cried about Melayu mudah lupa and the ingratitude of Malays I do wonder whether he was thinking of his Operasi Isi Penuh and its favouring of Malays, and his consequential anger at those Malays who supported the opposition, wakakaka.

But I have absolutely no sympathy for him when those civil servants crossed over to PAS or PKR, because we have too many of them in UMNO already.

You know, this coming election has been touted as an American style presidential election between Najib and Anwar (instead of a Westminster style between or among parties). If Pakatan does win, perhaps we can capture that American style election by sweeping out the top echelons of the MCS together with their UMNO masters.

Much as I dislike matters American, this may not be entirely an unwelcome process.