Thursday, February 02, 2017

Isi Overflow?

FMT - How to deal with the bloated civil service (extracts):

By Ramon Navaratnam

Finally, the government has itself described the civil service as bloated.

To his credit, Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani openly and honestly stated that the civil service, although bloated, will not be reduced, but it will be made more multi-tasked, to improve productivity. This statement is serious but is also worrisome.

We now have one civil servant serving 19.37 people. The ratio is 1:110 for Indonesia, and for China 1:108, while it is 1:50 for South Korea. We won’t compare ourselves to the low ratio of 1:71.4 in Singapore because it’s a small island and with hardly any rural population.

But why is our civil service so bloated?

1. We recruited rapidly to give jobs for the boys when the output from the education system expanded. We even had an “Operasi Isi Penuh” programme at one time. That is, we rushed to create jobs and filled them fast.

Currently, the Civil service costs RM74 Billion per annum (2016 figures) and another RM19 Billion n pension.

Productivity is sh*t considering we have 1 civil servant per 19.37 people, yet there have been
undue delays, corruption and lackadaisical attitude in services towards the public

By contrast, the civil service to population ratio in Indonesia is 1:110, in China 1:108, and in South Korea is 1:50.

Ignoring these stats, Malaysia has a notorious cuivil service.

The downhill journey for our once-impeccable Civil Service started with Operasi Isi Penuh which doubled its workforce of approximately 400,000 to a massive 800,000 in 1983.

The very title of that operations Isi Penuh gave an inkling of the recklessness of the recruitment into the Malaysian Civil Service (MCS).

The conceptualizer was none other than then-PM Mahathir.

His Operasi Isi Penuh was, IMHO, a bad decision but probably stemming from his Malayalee DNA, wakakaka.

He ordered that massive recruitment for the civil service in order to deal with acute unemployment among Malay youths during a period of economic depression.

But in fixing a tactical problem he endowed us with a strategic headache, as he had done so with so many other issues, eg. judiciary, senate, forex, bmf, bank bumiputra, maminco, memali, Sabah illegal influx, perwaja, proton, bakun, road tolls, etc etc etc - so what's new?

My uncles and friends related how Operasi Isi Penuh was seen to be exorbitantly, needlessly and excessively profligate in its implementation, where they recalled department heads being instructed in no uncertain terms and even pressured to 'top up' their staffing a.s.a.p.

Suffice to say it was all about political gains for Maddy and his ruling party, and not so much about public service for the rakyat, because even until today, many Malaysians even have mucho complaints about services at government departments and agencies, where in some extreme cases, the public servants became the Tuan and the tuan-rakyat became the servants.

And we are reputed to have the largest civil servant-population ratio in the world.

I wonder whether such profligacy, as in our numerous cases of profligacy over the past 35 years, was an outcome from the curse rather than the blessing of our then considerable oil and gas assets.

We then had too much wealth which might possibly have led to such excessive extravaganza including, I heard, dropping a Proton Saga at the North Pole - and for what? For Santa Claus?

Would we have a far better though less richer Malaysia if we haven't have oil and gas, depending only on our rubber, tin, iron, palm oil, cocoa, and light and agricultural industry as in the days of Tunku?

Has it been our petroleum asset or has it been the reckless profligacy of the then-PM?

Petronas Twin Towers, Arabian-Nights Putrajaya, etc, you decide.

does Putrajaya have Malay or Arab features? 

The end result of Operasi Isi Penuh saw the gross 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, the Police, the Military but extended to other government-linked organisations.

All thanks to Mahathir.

Parallel to the imbalance in the civil service situation, a deliberate outcome of Mahathir, there has been a contrived myth, yes a myth, that the Chinese shun the Civil Service, 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.

That's 101% pure grade bullshit, because the Chinese were the very people who invented the civil service.

They have, in their several thousands of years of civilisation, either enjoyed or suffered from the Chinese civil service, wakakaka.

Thus undeniably, for thousands of years, Chinese did fill the civil services of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and to a fair proportion, Malaysia ..... until Mahathir became PM.

A.H Ponniah, who was a former CUEPACS secretary general (1989 – 1996), MTUC vice president (1976 - 1988), the National Joint Council for Public Services staff side secretary (1986 – 1996) and the Asia Pacific Regional Secretary of Public Services International (1997-2003), wrote in Aliran in 2003 on Operasi Isi Penuh:

In 1980, the government, faced with a pressing need for employment creation, launched a massive recruitment in the public service called Operasi Penuh. Since 1979, it had often been declared that there were 880,000 public sector employees. I believe that there were 1.12 million employees after Operasi Isi Penuh was conducted.

Strangely, non-bumiputeras were generally bypassed in this exercise. After that general recruitment in the public sector - except for teachers and nurses - this policy was reversed because of an austerity drive, resulting in a very small presence of non-bumiputeras in the public service. 

It is difficult to rectify this disproportionate employment of the non-bumiputras in the public sector now. During festive holidays at the end of Ramadhan, when there are mass leave applications by bumiputera employees, most government departments are under-staffed, virtually non-functioning. 

Although this results in public dissatisfaction, the unions have no choice but to defend the rights of their members to go on leave to be with their loved ones during the Muslim festive times.

Anyway, when we have a quantum of chores to do, and we have far far too many employees or civil servants (as the outcome of Operasi Isi Penuh) to do those jobs, some or even many will invariably be not fruitfully employed, and as the saying goes, 'Idleness is the root of all evil', and that's when a lackadaisical attitude creeps in and becomes a cultural habit for the workforce of that organisation.

The malaise spread into what it is today, sleeping on the job as a justified and due entitlement for employees of certain organisations, as propounded by Nufam.

Overemployment has also become another government institutionalised culture, principally to remove the unemployed Malay youths from the streets and their potential political trouble-making. Government linked organisations such as MAS suffered from the same problem of having too many staff.

And when you have too many staff members without knowing how to employ them productively then you have imported the problem from the streets into your organisation, and concretised said malaise.

As Tan Sri Navaratnam said, it's not only difficult but also politically sensitive to reduce the Civil Service which has been consuming lots of ringgit, in fact, by the billions.

The incompetency of the Civil Service is further shown when the government spent hundreds and hundreds of millions hiring consultants to do what the civil servants ought to be doing, as they did in Tun Ghazalie Shafie's days.

As I have often said, the terrible legacy of the Mahathir regime will take, even if there is will at the highest level, decades to remedy. yet today some of us want him to lead us, to where?

More of what he had already given us such as ...

... a racially imbalanced civil service and armed forces,
... a puppet senate, 
... a questionable judicial third arm of the government,
... a Bank Negara playing casino,
... amateurish economic-financial ventures like BMF, Maminco, Perwaja,
... senseless profligacy in building pompous monuments of the Sukarno style that we used to laugh at

MONAS (monumen nasional)

... manipulating one of Asia's best airline (MAS) until it degenerated into what it is today
... engaging foreign consultants to do what out Civil Service experts ought to be doing but are incapable of doing (like in MAS)
... etc etc etc?


  1. A possible short term solution - imitating the Pinoy & the Indo by exporting the excess as foreign maid/construction worker to places that they feel sekampong.

    That of course can only be done when the govt of the day takes a BIG scissor to trim the excess fat within the bloated civil service.

    It's painful & cpuld cause the fall of the current administration.

    But it has to be done! Besides, if the govt falls, the replacement govt MUST not waiver & terbalik this act.

    Longer term is to educate & limit the overall population growth by mimiting the one child policy of China for a period of two generations.

    On top of that makes poligamy illegal for all Muslim jantang. Period.

    1. aiyoyo, CK, we are just talking about the Malaysian Civil Services being bloated but you have overreach into Muslim polygamous marriages, wakakaka

      first thing I would recommend is to cease all recruitment. then allow for natural or normal attrition, that is, when civil servants retire, don't replace them.

      secondly, encourage some to resign with handsome packages or golden handshakes which in the long run will be cheaper for the government

      thirdly, help train some for teh private sector or into small private business, with financial and training aid

      fourthly, it's time for the government to be strict and dismiss those who flout rules more than once

      that's for a start

    2. Let me gives u a historical reflash.

      1) to cease all recruitment. then allow for natural or normal attrition, that is, when civil servants retire, don't replace them.

      2) encourage some to resign with handsome packages or golden handshakes.

      3) help train some for teh private sector or into small private business, with financial and training aid.

      Maddy did all these!! Surprised?

      1 & 2 were short-lived due to abang-adikism amongs the highly related civil servants.

      U probably realise that most of the m'sian civil servants r blood related, due to intermarriages & poligamy within sekampong!

      Thus 上有政策,下有对策 has been an artform done to perfection by the l'tle neapoleans of bolihland.

      Even Maddy also kena tipu kaw-kaw!

      3 was hijacked by the selected elites to fatten their relatives to the detriment of those who REALLY needed it. Typical case as in that infamous MAS debacle under Tajuddin.

      Maddy owed it to Tajjudin! Do tsk bolih buat apax2.

      4 can't be done bcoz of 官官相卫, tak nak pecah periuk nasik org! Faham tak?

      So, still think yr miaox2 approaches can solve the over-bloated civil servants population??

  2. U r attacking that mamak from a different angle!

    Meanwhile yr kawan selobang r zooming on his financial mismanagements.

    What a concerted effort, worthy of a military move!

    Must be the fact that that mamak is really pulling a lot of Melayu, heartlanders &/or urbaners, behind him.

    Jibby is possibly shitting tons.

    BTW, as u said - 'the terrible legacy of the Mahathir regime will take, even if there is will at the highest level, decades to remedy'

    So bila is the best time?

    Until jibby retired, either in style in some central Asia shithole, or in tittles in bamboo river?

    Either ways, u need the Melayu to be awaken out of that dream of letting the house intruder sleeping with the wife & daughter SIMPLY bcoz he is ummat & sebangsa!

    So, how?

    Mamak tak bolih sebab past legacies.

    Zombie head hancho tak jadi sebab past looking to ancient rituals theocracy.

    DAP tak jadi, sebab bukan melayu!

    Thus, bolihland must be a goner as far as u r concerned!


    1. Pakatan (DAP, PKR and Amanah) but minus racist Pribumi (effectively UMNO Mark 3) must keep chipping away at BN until it wins, either in GE-14 or 15 or even 16.

      If Pakatan sleeps together with pribumi or PAS, I will not vote for them (I assure you I won't vote for BN too) which means I'll be playing mahjung on election day, wakakaka

    2. Let u have a secret from an unreliable source.

      The national coffer is near zero, & the arbitration with ICPC in UK is going the wrong way!

      That's the reason for a 'hearty' petrol raise despite the nearing of a jibby erection.

      So there won't be a GE15 or later as lead by jibby.

      The knife of Brutus is out, sooner than u blink.

      But that still won't solve the jibby's kleptomaniac legacies.

      Bolihlanders need swift solutions & yrs is a grandmother's lotus feet binding cloth - long & smelly!

      Tak jadi juga!!!!

      The problem is the longer one take in order to lessen the immediate pains, the longer is the recovery period.

      On top of that, most of them r having good via pampering by default. The longer time duration on both counts won't go down well with their tongkat induced physique. Thus destined to fail!

      It's a Hobson's choice leh!!!

  3. Being fixated on Mahathir's transgressions without holding the Najis administration currently in power accountable to work differently amounts to cynical partisanship.

    I draw a line between bad decisions or poor judgement on one hand, and kleptocracy on the other.

    Bad decision making should result in an elected official being kicked out of office, but kleptocracy should land the official in jail.

    1. you deal with Najib, I'll campaign against Mahathir - what say you?

  4. The PTD intake is on-going every year. For the last intake I was told about 90,000 applied and 9000 were called for assessment but only 300 achieved the grade for PTD cadet training.

    The filtering is very stringent. They have to go through three phases of selection criteria and interview before undergoing 1 year of training which they must pass  before they are appointed as PTD officers.

  5. PSD of the oldden day M'sia used to be the talk of ASEAN.

    This was reflected in the THEN training intakes of INTAN from all over ASEAN.

    That was day gone by - lost!

    To the extend that even Tun Ghazali Shafie would curse its standard during his later life.

    Maybe KT would tag it as another one of those mamak legacy that has been turned into doggy suasage.

    The filtering is very stringent????

    Nowadays, PSD is a tempurung of abang-adikism. Most of the officers r poorly trained & majority of them r been recruited via cronyism.

    Nak Masuk, mesti ada cable!

    Qualifications r secondary or none existent!

    Hence, we have all these big sharks sitting in the various depts scratching the barrels &/or putting their hands in the cookie jars to line their own pockets.

    Meanwhile, the efficiency & productivity of the various depts under their care go down the drain.

    Basically, it's a training ground for fraud & gaji buta for the next group of govt cadets & future sharks.