Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ops 'Isi Penuh' revisited

Malaysiakini letter by Dr Kua Kia Soong (Extracts):

Centre for Global Affairs Malaysia (Icon) president Abdul Razak Baginda recently reproached journalist John Pennington for an article that places Malaysia’s civil service in an unfavourable light in comparison with its Singapore counterpart.

Among the reasons for the Malaysian civil service’s lower proficiency, Pennington claimed, were its size and its dominance by Malays. Razak’s rebuttal offers no good justifications for the bloated civil service in Malaysia, except to say it has to do with the need for ‘affirmative action’. Methinks Razak Baginda doth protest too much.

Malaysia’s bureaucracy is one of the biggest in the world, with 1.3 million civil servants from a population of 30 million, or 4.5 percent, compared with Singapore’s civil service (1.5 percent), or those of Hong Kong and Taiwan (2.3 percent).

We are spending more than RM41 billion a year for upkeep of the civil service. Now you could protest that Singapore and Hong Kong are small city states, but what about a larger country like Taiwan?

While it is the growing trend of many countries to reduce the size of their civil service, Malaysia’s Prime Minister’s Department in particular has done the opposite. It has more than doubled the number of civil servants from 21,000 to 43,554. In stark contrast, the White House employs only 1,888 staff.

Now, what was it that Pennington said that riled Razak Baginda?

FMT reported (extracts):

Pennington highlighted a 2015 World Bank report that ranked Singapore as the world’s best for government effectiveness. Malaysia was placed 43rd among 170 countries.

Among the reasons for the Malaysian civil service’s lower proficiency, Pennington claimed, were its hugeness and its dominance by Malays.

He also said Singapore’s decision to pay its civil servants well and its willingness to embrace new technology were some of the reasons for its civil service’s proficiency.

Razak slammed back, saying ........

........ he would advise Pennington to get a better perspective of things before making such comparisons.

“I would like to quote our great Dr Mahathir Mohamad who once asked: ‘What’s so difficult about managing Singapore? It’s like managing Kuala Lumpur,'” he said.

“In terms of diversity, population size, physical size and much more, managing Singapore is just like managing Kuala Lumpur. You cannot compare oranges and lemons.”

He pointed out that Singapore also did not have to deal with the unique challenges Malaysia faced, such as affirmative action policies.

Both Dr Kua and Razak Baginda have been right, to wit, Razak's contention the bloated civil service has to do with someone's affirmative' action (yes, Razak doth protest too much and I'll come to this in a while) as well as Dr Kua's criticism of the Malaysian civil service as being over-bloated and inefficient.

I needn't go into the issue that the Malaysian Civil Service, which includes its Armed Forces, Police, Immigration, Customs, etc etc etc are made up on almost one race, namely, the Malays.

It is an issue born out of official approval.

Once upon a time there was an administrative Operation called Ops 'Isi Penuh', whence Civil Service leaders were ORDERED to f**king staff their departments up, or ELSE.

Guess who gave that order?

T'was none other than the Emperor who mutilated the Constitution, Judiciary, Senate and of course the Malaysian Civil Service.

Yes, it was affirmative action, to remove unemployed idling but voting-youths off the street and presumably into UMNO's vote bank. But the Operation was over-the-top, perhaps because we had lots and lots of money from our once wealthy oil resources, so WTF with a few pence here and there - all sap sap suoi stuff. Thus was his reign blessed with mucho money to waste in a profligate manner.

Even Malay Department heads grumbled at the reckless silliness of 'Isi Penuh', but what could they do against His Imperial Majesty? By the end of 2006, more than 90% of 1.15 civil servants were Malays.

That was how your once-Emperor operated.

Yes, the Operation was ordered from the No 1 Man, thus in the mad rush to meet his imperial order, rubbish was recruited in that Nazi-ordered 'Isi Penuh' scramble, and thus today you'd get rubbish out, and the malaise has not stop since.

Today it's no longer his problem - usual stuff, his successorS have to deal with it.

Earlier this year, 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 embarrasing.

Razak Baginda repeated Maddy's kok-tok about Singapore being like ruling KL, when even KL itself did not perform to support his views.

You need only look at how Singapore is being run to see the nonsense of Razak Baginda's valiant but vain attempt to defend Mahathir's policies.

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.

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. As just mentioned, the imperial conceptualizer was none other than your only Emperor of Malaysia.

Like most of his schemes, his Operasi Isi Penuh wasa terrible failure.

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.

But Razak Baginda has been right in that it was 'affirmative action' but masked as such to hide its real aim, that not unlike Project Blue IC in Sabah.

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?


  1. another bias article from dedak eater.

    mahathir retire in 2003, the civil servant exclude teacher, health care sector etc etc is 420k, 2015 civil servant increase to 540k. y curse mahathir n not najib?

    sound more n more like the mt liar ie just another liar.

    1. The civil service in Malaysia is pivotal around Article 132 of the Constitution of Malaysia which stipulates that the public services shall consist of the Federal and State General Public Service, the Joint Public Services, the Education Service, the Judiciary and the Legal Service and the Armed Forces.
      For all intents and purpose, Statutory Bodies and the Local Authorities are also considered as parts of the Public Services. This is because both these autonomous bodies resemble the Public Services in many respects since they adopt the procedures of the Public Services pertaining to appointments, terms and conditions of service and the remuneration system. Besides that, their officers and staff also receive pension and other retirement benefits similar to the employees in the Public Services.

      As a result of Ops Isi Penuh, Civil service reached 1.15 million in 2006. just because Mahathir left in 2003, it didn't mean Ops Isi Penuh did not continue.

    2. So WHO allows Opd Is Penuh to continue???

      All those successors, after mamak, have no teloq to change/alter Ops Is Penuh ke?

      Or they see what mamak saw in that political game plan of OIP, as a life line to their political career??

      Keep singing that broken record of everything bad for bolihland traced back to mamak lah!!!

      There r less & less audiences buying the tune, except those blur-sotongs, zombies & ketuanan freaks.

      What about the source of mamak's power, the very origin of bolihland's fall!!

      Guess u have no teloq, just like yr sifu, to say umno lah.

      Perhaps it's also a good vent to peter out yr personal pet hate for mamak/manmanlai while doing ahjibgor a favour.

      Betul tak??

    3. now MCS is 1.3 million, but at end of 2006 it was already 1.15 million, the sweet result of Mahathir's Ops Isi Penuh. As said, even if he left in 2003 the momentum of an administrative recruiting ops continue, perhaps by another 0.15 million

    4. but mahathir era malaysia growth is rapid n high, the isi penuh can sustain n might be necessary, now w2020 pun dah tukar tn50, masih mahu blame mahathir? just curious how much dedak u eat?

    5. Let's put the record straight.

      Before mamak retired & with the help of daim, he implemented an attempt to trim down the civil servic via multiple corporatization/privatization of the government departments.

      So if he left in 2003, his reversing of OIP should have taken effect in the reduction of the head count in MCS.

      Yr take of that built up momentum is pure bull out of yr imagination.

      The subsequent bloating of the MCS head count is the result of his successors playing the same tune as the early mamak regime.

      Don't just shoot from yr underpants lah!

  2. "nonsense of Razak Baginda's valiant but vain attempt to defend Mahathir's policies"

    A misguided and dishonest assessment.

    If Razak Baginda was attempting to defend anyone here, it would be his Buddy (and perhaps Ktemoc Buddy) and fellow Submariner, Najib Razak.

    And there is a logical reason why Razak Baginda found it necessary to defend his buddy against remarks from a foreign journalist.
    In a Westminster system, which John Pennington is no doubt aware of, the Current policies of the Administration are the accountability of the Current Prime Minister.

    And , by the by, not the Prime Minister 20 years ago, or even that of another Prime Minister 10 years ago.

    An additional fact which needs to be pointed out is that the average length of service in the Malaysian Civil Service is 30 years. So , on the average, some 50% of the current Civil Servants in the government today were hired after 2003, when Mahathir retired.
    So if the Civil Service is bloated Today, it is very much also the accountability of the Current Prime Minister.

    1. amazing how you weaved around figures to exempt excuse mahathir.

      Consider Isi Punuh, say in 1990 to 2000, recruited people who would only have serve 27 to 17 years by today. There were at least 1 million of them, if not more, during your idol's reign

    2. Amazing how you weaved around figures to exempt Najib.
      Here are the facts from a prominent but fair government critic, Aliran.

      Operasi Isi Penuh was carried out in 1980.
      Virtually all of those hired then , would have retired by now.

      Don't listen to Ktemoc Fake News.

    3. it's a very good read to know what mahathir had been, wakakaka

    4. I have no problems holding the government of the day accountable for its actions. In 2003 Mahathir was the Prime Minister.

      What I find dishonest is this Fake News blog attempting to whitewash the Current Administration (for whatever nefarious reasons) and divert attention to policies of a past administration 20 years ago.