Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, when officiating at the oath-taking ceremony of the new committee of the Klang Pasar DAP Branch at the branch premises, Klang on Friday, 17th August 1979 at 8 pm.
DAP proposes the establishment of an Ombudsman or Parliamentary Commissioner on Administration to stamp out maladministration in government service.
The last few weeks have shown that the civil service in Malaysia is neither civil nor providing a service, The ordinary people of Malaysia who have to go government departments, whether to apply for passports, licenses or permits, or write to government departments, are thoroughly sick and fed up with the treatment they get in government offices – the indifference, discourtesy and high-handedness, as highlighted by the day-long queues at the Kuala Lumpur Immigration Department in the past several days, letters unanswered and files even lost!
Although there is a Public Complaints’ Bureau, the bureau is ineffective in stamping out maladministration. At last count at the end of 1977, the number of cases brought to the attention of the Public Complaints’ Bureau was in the region of 22,000 for the eight years since it was set up in the Prime Minister’s department in 1971, or some 3,000 complaints a year.
If all the passport applicants who had to queue up at the Kuala Lumpur Immigration Office in the past week, and suffered from the uncivil discourteous and high-handed treatment had all complained to the Public Complaints’ Bureau, the number will run into thousands already; This showed that the public have no confidence whatsoever in the Public Complaints’ Bureau.
This lack of confidence is in a way justified. For instance, could the Public Complaints’ Bureau look into the grievances of the passport applicants who in the last week were so badly treated in the KL Immigration Office? Would the Director of the Public Complaints’ Bureau have the right to call up the Director-General of the Immigration Department, Haji Mohamed Amir Yaakub, and tell him that his explanation in the press that there was unprecedented rush for passports, and the need to scrutinise all applications to weed out false documents, is just not good enough?
Again has the Director of Public Complaints’ Bureau the power to haul up the Immigration Chief and investigate why suddenly, the Immigration Department has 150,000 applications awaiting processing for permanent resident status?
Or could the Public Complaints’ Bureau have the power to call up the Home Affairs Ministry to find out why applications for citizenship take so long to be processed, some applications going as far back as 1971?
When the Prime Minister, Datuk Hussein Onn, first assumed office; he made a speech emphasising that civil servants must serve the people. But the Prime Minister’s advice has fallen on deaf ears, and the government has taken no steps to promote good administration.
Maladministration runs rampant in all government departments in the country.
The ordinary citizen, in his dealing with officials, is engaged as a rule in small matters, important to him but routine to government official. It is in this daily contact between the ordinary citizen and the government officials that the ordinary citizens become the victims of government maladministration, which can arise from delay, discourtesy, unfairness, bias, ignorance, incompetence and high-handedness. Bigger infractions would include discrimination, neglect, arbitrariness and corruption.
The DAP calls on the Prime Minister to give this matter of the right of the ordinary citizen to be treated civilly of the right of the ordinary citizen to be treated civilly and courteously personal attention. The Government should consider the establishment of an Ombudsman or a Parliamentary Commissioner an Administration to stamp out maladministration in all its forms, and to elevate the ordinary citizen to the status he is entitled to- to be served by the Government.
The DAP firmly believes that the Government must restore public confidence in the administration of government departments and this could only be done by ensuring that the hall-mark of the civil service shall be incorruptibility and efficiency.
A Public Complaints’ Bureau is too ineffective in scope and power to deal with the rampant maladministration in the country. For instance, the long-standing problem of diesel shortage, causing such grave hardships not only to taxi drivers, lorry and other transport operators, but also to fishermen and farmers, is also the result of maladministration, which an Ombudsman or Parliamentary Commissioner should able to inquire into to effect remedies.
Only a government, which is afraid of ensuring that we have a civil service which is both civil and provide a service would have objection to the establishment of an Ombudsman.
MCA – A Circus Acrobat who could perform boneless twists and turns
In the past weeks, the people of Malaysia have been swarmed with MCA leaders’ speeches and pronouncements, to try to present themselves as great political leaders of the country.
On MCA political leader and Minister likes to describe MCA as walking on a tight-rope. I think this description is very apt. Over the decades, the MCA Ministers and leaders have perfected the art of tight-rope walking, or trip-wire walking, where they could perform acrobatic tricks of boneless twists and turns with ease.
But the ability of MCA Ministers to perform boneless twists and turns is no claim for political greatness. This is why although the MCA claimed to be the champion of the five million Malaysian Chinese, the MCA Ministers and leaders in fact represent nobody but themselves.
The MCA claims to have 400,000 members, but in the last general elections, the MCA could not get even 50% of the members to vote for MCA candidates. In fact, it is an open secret that the majority of the MCA membership voted for the DAP!
The MCA Ministers should stop misrepresenting the legitimate aspirations of Malaysian Chinese in Cabinet and Parliament, but be frank and truthful and admit in Cabinet and Parliament that they represent nobody at all. This will be their greatest service to Malaysian Chinese and the Malaysian nation, for the MCA will then stop becoming the obstacle to all Malaysians understanding the legitimate aspirations of all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, etc.