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Is the government capable of performing a miracle in 12 days time on June 14 to revolutionize public delivery system which has been getting from bad to worse in the past four years?


Media Statement      
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Petaling Jaya, Saturday) : Malaysians are very surprised by the revelation by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday that the government will be implementing a new public delivery system in 13 days.  (New Straits Times). 

Addressing Kuala Lumpur City Hall senior officials during a one-day tour of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Abdullah said he wants all state leaders and ministers to ensure that the government machinery is prepared to implement the new government delivery system in 13 days. 

He said he gave the instruction at the National Physical Planning Committee meeting attended by all menteris besar, chief ministers and several ministers in Putrajaya on Wednesday. 

Abdullah said: “I hope the ministers will follow up on the matter. This is important as we only have 13 days to go. We want them to monitor the state of preparedness to carry out the new government delivery system.” 

This is a most extraordinary and cavalier manner to launch a new and major policy initiative like a new government delivery system – with the bulk of the civil service from all levels still in the dark and the 26 million Malaysian completely ignorant about the so-called new public delivery system, while mentris besar and chief ministers and “several ministers” were given the alert only on Wednesday! 

Is the government capable of performing a miracle in 12 days time by June 14 to revolutionize the public delivery system which has been getting from bad to worse in the past four years? 

In the absence of more information, Abdullah’s revelation can only generate  widespread national skepticism and cynicism especially as of late, the government had never been more bumbling and bungling in the 50-year history of the nation – which is not confined to an ever-lengthening list of “crack-ups” of new government buildings, whether the brand-new administrative capital of Putrajaya; the RM270 million world’s second largest court complex in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur or  the  Parliament Building after RM100 million renovation. 

Today’s press highlighted another two instances in the litany of government building and public construction defects and  mishaps: 

  • Leaks in the new RM5.7 million three-storey Johore state library in Johor Baru, which remains closed although it was handed over to the library administrators in October last year  (The Star);
  • Whether the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry in Precinct  4, Putrajaya is safe because of the widening of the expansion joint of the structure dividing the 15-storey building into two sections. (NST)

The statement by the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting in Kampar yesterday that government buildings need not obtain certificate of fitness (CFs) before they are occupied (The Star) has reinforced rather than banished public concerns about the safety of public buildings and the quality of the public service delivery system. 

Ong said government buildings do not require CFs from the local authorities as their designs came under the responsibility of the Public Works Department (PWD), and all government buildings built under the supervision of PWD are professionally self-certified. 

With the Parliament and the world’s second largest court complex as examples, and now the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs in Putrajaya, who would have confidence with such “self-certification” or even the PWD’s supervision? 

Furthermore, why are Ministers and top government officers ignorant about whether government buildings need CFs or not. The Minister took a week to find out whether CFs are necessary for government buildings while even the former Chief Secretary, Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, never knew that government buildings do not require CFs.   

This was why Samsudin in his capacity of President of Putrajaya Corporation made the statement in April that all government buildings in Putrajaya were issued with CFs in order to allay public concerns about the safety and standards of government buildings and public constructions in Putrajaya. 

What is this “revolution” that the Prime Minister has in store for the country with regard to a completely new government delivery system which he is to unveil in 12 days’ time and how is he to ensure that it is not going to be another case of  “all talk and no walk”? 

To ensure the success of this “new public service delivery system:”, the Prime Minister would be well-advised to adopt a more consultative approach to involve the participation of all stakeholders in  the country, in particular MPs, political parties, professional organizations, chambers of commerce, NGOs, the media, to seek their inputs before any final announcement of a “revolution” of government delivery system is made.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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