If the general election is not held before the budget announcements, it is probably the one last chance for Najib to prove to the people that he will direct funds towards raising the standard of living for the nation and to provide incentives where the people can actually see and feel the everyday benefits. This time, the government needs to LISTEN to the people instead of deciding for themselves where the money should go.
The private business sector and educated mass of recent graduates who are desperate for employment are sick and tired of hearing about the hike in wages and benefits for the ever increasing mass of sub-standard civil servants. The standard of service has not improved and most government departments have not even got a proper I.T system in place, let alone a functioning photocopying machine. By now this country should have already established a system in every government department where the people could go online and fill up forms and pay bills online, where we can derive all the information we need through their respective portals. We need a more efficient I.T. system with fewer quality manpower managing those systems instead of a lazy workforce pampered with yearly hikes in their wages that has grown accustomed to 3 hour effective working hours daily while the public is expected to wait for delayed decisions and make frequent unnecessary trips up and down various government departments just to achieve one objective.
It goes without saying that if the civil service is efficient, technology driven and well managed with fewer but highly intelligent people, it will naturally drive the economy upwards because the people will begin to expect, demand and grow accustomed to quality rather than quantity in every sector of their lives. This will affect quality in our public transport, our schools, our universities, our public hospitals, our sports centres, our community leisure centres, our old folks homes, our retirement villages, our public housing systems, our water quality, our airport services, our welfare provisions, and the list goes on, because there is an unending list of complaints I could provide for every single one of these government sectors.
The government is wholly responsible for establishing the standards in the civil service and we cannot expect the private sector to flourish if we have to continually hold ourselves back for a very retarded civil service system. This is what every Prime Minister is tasked with when managing his or her fleet of Ministers who have been posted to do their jobs. Najib’s main task at the budget is to hold every Minister accountable for all those complaints that the public could provide for every single government department in this country and perhaps before he goes to the budget or to the general election, he should open up a portal that would allow the public to provide their evidence online on the type of rubbish they have had to put up with all these years when dealing with the government service.
That way, he will know what needs to be improved in this country and where that money should go. This country cannot go on with sub-standard service and high level government corruption because it is crippling the country. Najib needs to address what he promised to do and demand the temporary suspension of all Ministers and government servants accused and charged with corruption and be a little bit more Sun Tzu in this approach, otherwise his kindness and leniency will be his own downfall.
Nilakrisna James is a lawyer and civil rights activist plus co-founder of the United Borneo Front