Serve the flag not the regime

By Frank A.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--It is an open secret that the Malaysian civil service has been used and abused by successive governments over the past few decades, being a means for many a politician to advance his career, enrich himself or to strengthen the grip on power.

This has proven to be extremely detrimental to the progress and development of the nation, which seems stuck in reverse, something that has clearly accelerated with the latest regime after a short period of limited improvement under Pakatan Harapan.

Civil servants have for the most part been unable to fight against such abuse due to the way power works in Malaysia, patronage is essential to any form of advancement, not merits.

But these same civil servants who help push forward questionable policies, turn a blind eye to the abuse of power and refuse to speak out when they see outright fraud and criminal mismanagement must remember that their actions will eventually make them suffer as well.

For now it would seem that these civil servants are secure, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged the economy and caused unemployment not seen since the days of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

But they must open their eyes to the fact that a state that fails will not be able to keep them employed, and will not give them the perks and bonuses that they enjoy now. They will lose the security they have if they keep propping up failed politicians who would not be able to be employed as janitors.

There are of course heroes, such as National Audit Department (NAD) officer Nor Salwani Muhammad, who recorded a meeting between 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and government officials in 2016 and saved an original copy of the 1MDB audit report.

We also have former Inspector-General of Police Hamid Bador who exposed home minister Hamzah Zainudin’s interference in police matters after Hamzah confirmed that he was the person in a leaked recording of a conversation on the reshuffle of the police force.

These career civil servants took risks in an attempt to right what they and no doubt the public see as crimes against the nation, whether grand scale corruption or the abuse of power in pushing for appointments.

Left unchecked, these politicians will loot, rape and sell the country to anyone with a fistful of money to serve their personal selfish interests.

Politicians come and go, ministers come and go and governments come and go, in fact we have had three governments in two years, so the lesson to the civil servants must be that it is short-sighted and foolish to side with any of these temporary figures.

Malaysia on the other hand is here to stay, and these civil servants live here, not somewhere else. What kind of future do you hope for your children to have in this country if you support those whose only vision is to destroy that same country for personal gain.

Wake up. Open your eyes to what's happening and take action where you can. And strong, professional civil service which highly values integrity, transparency and good governance is your best bet.

When poor policies weaken the Ringgit, when money meant for development, healthcare and education is plundered, remember that you will suffer along with the rest of us Malaysians. The power to stop it is in your hands.