Education minister Mahdzir Khalid revealed recently that a ministry employee was dismissed after he had been found missing from work for more than 2,000 days.
This “record” is both shocking and alarming, serving as a stern reminder that the government must beef up disciplinary control and improve on its management efficiency in order to ensure that civil servants in the country will become a national asset to catalyze social development, not a liability to hold us down.
Absent from work for 2,000 days or more than five full years! Inconceivably, the education ministry had not taken any action against the errant worker throughout this period, and was only determined to axe him after 2,000 days!
This incident has not only raised public skepticism over the government’s administrative efficiency but has also exposed the severe flaws in the management of public institutions.
According to the education ministry, missing from work is the single most serious disciplinary lapse encountered by the ministry, with up to 1,912 cases or 55.4% of all instances of lax discipline reported between 2010 and October 2017, reflecting the urgency to restore civil service integrity.
It is not new that civil service efficiency and work attitude have come under public query. Youth & sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin revealed last year that civil servants often went for tea break soon after clocking in in the morning, and this problem exists not just in a single government department.
Shah Alam mayor Ahmad Zaharin lately slammed the City hall’s contract workers for not reporting to work for 20 days, some coming to office only to “punch cards”.
We cannot deny that there are indeed disciplined and diligent civil servants in government offices, but it is the sloppy attitude of a handful of black sheep that has adversely affected the overall image and operational efficiency of the entire civil service.
While such problems can be attributed to the quality of individuals involved, poor supervision on the part of government institutions is also to be blamed.
As we demand civil servants to work conscientiously, most importantly the relevant authorities must also improve on their management efficiency and make good use of the allocated resources to better serve the people and the nation.
The absenteeism highlighted by Mahdzir and the universal “tea break after clocking in” phenomenon must not be allowed again, and this requires strict supervision at all government departments.
We have an enormous civil service workforce of some 1.6 million people, and this means that the government is the largest “employer” in this country. It is utterly essential for the government to put into implementation sound management practices and optimize human resources mobilization. The disciplinary issues mentioned above will not only deplete our valuable national resources but will also bog down our progress.
Simply put, the government must adopt the most optimal management practices to inspire civil servants to do their utmost for the nation.