Jan 8, 2018

Political Views Among Civil Servants

This is quite rare of me to blog about politics, given how silent I am in the past in voicing my political preferences. Back then I was only a student under a sponsorship so you can imagine how dangerous it can be to be vocal about the politics - even if my blog did not reach the eyes of the masses. You can never know whose eyes are watching me. 

After I graduated from school, my next plan is to join the 1.4 million ranks of people working as civil servants. It has always be my plan to work as a doctor in Malaysia and not somewhere else. I feel indebted to MARA for sponsoring my medical studies and the obligation to return the favour was not enforced to me. I feel that it is a right thing to do, and so I do it.

And so here I am, a year of working as a junior doctor and also as a civil servant in Malaysia where the politics can be as spicy as the local cuisines we Malaysians come to love and loathe at the same time. To say that a civil servant cannot be political is a huge mistake - everyone should pay attention to politics and do their duty to vote - those who don't lose the right to complain.

And honestly, it is hard not to be interested in our politics of this late. The return of the legacy, now arms entwined with his old nemesis? The current leader with so many oppositions demanding changes etc. etc.? I admit I pay very little interest in all of this - I hardly political myself, but I am mildly interested in how my fellow colleagues and the rest of the civil servants in Malaysia react with the political waves that tsunami-ed our country for the next GE14.

I read somewhere from The Malaysian Times that civil servants in general are bound by the Rules for Public Workers (Conduct and Discipline) 1993. We can talk about politics, but our actions or our freedom of political expressions can be used against us if we do three of these things:

1. incite hatred against the ruling government
2. hold talks, discussions and debates containing anti-government elements
3. display strong anti-government views directly or indirectly in any form such as verbally or in writing

I always find it peculiar regarding those who like to criticize the Government while being employed by the same said Government. Technically, what they are criticizing is not the Government per se but the ruling party that makes the bulk of the Government body. They criticize so much about the GST, about the tolls, about corruption (whereas in practice some of us do come late to work, abusing the Paracetamol in the ward when we are sick, going MIA and etc.), and many more things that the Government is deemed so incapable of doing them right.

To me personally it gives a very wrong message to the public. If we are seen as the ones who blatantly not in sync with the Government aspiration (cehhh, big words), then who else going to do it? In the first place, do we even know what are the Government's goal pertaining to the sections we work in? I know a little, if any. Do you?

At the hospital where I work, the newly built Pusat Rawatan Ibu dan Anak complex (the one on the right) is reaching near completion. The huge complex solely for the O&G and Paediatrics department at first sounds overt. Surely yes, it is good to have this but how about other specialties? Why not expand the ever crowded wards in Medical department or renovating the Emergency department? Why do they pay attention to maternal and child health so much?

If you pay extra attention to what the Government (by extension, the Ministry of Health) has been doing all this time, you will know that we have managed to achieve the targets set from the 2011-2015 Tenth Malaysia Plan in terms of wellbeing improvement:

If that doesn't baffled you, Malaysia has also long committed in alliance with the United Nations (UN) Eight Millennium Development Goals, a project in which all 189 countries of UN members agreed to try and achieve it by the year 2015. This topic of UN's Millennium Development Goals actually came up during my final year medical school exams, so I had to know it at that time. Those eight goals, incorporated into the previous Tenth Malaysia Plan (2011-2015) are:

An excerpt from the report:

Within the MDG framework, 
  1. Absolute poverty and hunger have been eliminated in Malaysia:
  2. Universal primary education has been achieved for both boys and girls; 
  3. Child mortality is very low and is comparable to levels in high income nations; 
  4. Maternal deaths have fallen by more than half, while safe deliveries and antenatal care coverage are high; 
  5. Infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria have been halted and reversed; 
  6. Environmental sustainability has been incorporated into key plans and policies; 
  7. There is near universal coverage of clean water supply and basic sanitation; 
  8. Squatter household have been reduced. 

It's about time we talk about the good things that our country has trying to achieve and the actual achievements that we have obtained. It's also about bloody time we play a role, as civilized, civil servants, to promote the service that the Government, representing the body the people elected to govern, can offer to people. We always preach that anything must be valued from many facets of truth. No one-side coverage can enlighten the facts and figures of truth itself. So similarly, in the multitude of adversaries to the Government, one must also search about the efforts that they have put for the betterment of the people.

In essence, to dislike the ruling party is not akin to not supporting the civil service responsibilities you have been entrusted to shoulder. My two cents here are for me to heed and also for you dear readers to consider: Be a part of the team. Know what your employer's aspirations are and believe in it. A poor servant will never make a good master, as saying goes, so similarly, a poor civil servant will make you bad master of yourself. 


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