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SPECULATION: Talk of Kedah government servants having political ambitions and overshadowing political leaders is unfair
THE Kedah civil service, better known as KCS, has found itself to be a subject of political discussion these days. As the general election looms, politicians from both sides of the divide think the administrators are out to score political points.
There has been a flood of stories about officers contesting under the Barisan Nasional banner in the approaching 13th general election.
Datuk Adzmi Din, chief executive officer of Syarikat Air Darulaman (Sada), is widely seen to be among Kedah's menteri besar aspirants.
District officers are also said to harbour ambitions of becoming elected representatives. It all started with the 160,000-strong Kedah Civil Service Association being entrusted to coordinate the "Kasih Sayang Perdana Menteri" project. Launched a year ago, the project is aimed at helping needy and under privileged families in the Malay heartland.
Since Adzmi is the project director and prime mover, it does not take much for the rumour mill to conclude the reasons behind the attacks on serving KCS officers.
Adzmi laughed off the allegations in both pro-Umno/BN and pro-Pakatan Rakyat blogs.
He said that throughout its history, only two KCS officers took part in electoral contests, even then it was when they were still junior officers -- Datuk Othman Abdul (former Pendang member of parliament) and Datuk Abdul Rahman Ariffin (former Jerlun MP and former Air Hitam assemblyman).
"We are comfortable with our tradition (of serving the people).
"We were not interested when local politics was very stable under BN. Why would we want to get involved when things are now less certain?" asked Adzmi, who had been constantly attacked in the blogosphere.
Some blogs claim he would contest in Sungai Tiang, a state seat in the Pendang parliamentary constituency.
This is KCS's stand: If any of its officers accept nominations as a candidate for BN or Pas, the decision is personal, as in the cases of Othman and Abdul Rahman.
But both Pas and Umno leaders are not happy for their own reasons.
The Pas-led state government feels that KCS has compromised its role as provider for the people of Kedah by getting involved in the successful Kasih Sayang programme.
Reports were lodged against several district officers, who were later investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Since none of them could be nailed for corruption, it is widely assumed that the reports were politically motivated.
As for Umno, as it waits anxiously to retake Kedah at the next elections, outing, suspicions are high that the KCS is trying to overshadow key Kedah Umno leaders. Leaders believe KCS is pushing and promoting certain personalities to BN as winnable candidates.
“We are not used as a tool by any political party, this is our CSR (corporate social responsibility) to the people. It’s not a political project as it goes beyond race and political colour, only that the funding is coming directly from the prime minister’s office,” said Adzmi.
Umno and Pas should not be angry or jealous of what KCS is doing.
Both parties should instead be thankful as the programme complemented their own social work.
Nearly 25,000 poor families, including those left out by other authorities and political parties, have benefited from the programme, which so far has cost RM2.5 million. Last week in Pendang, Adzmi gave away RM50,000 in food aid to 510 Rela and 60 Civil Defence Department members from the low-income group.
The question of the Federal Government losing faith in Kedah Umno and BN does not arise here. Neither does the question of KCS not supporting the government of the day led by Pas.
KCS is providing services to the people using its own structure — the time-tested district offices network and no one can seriously say that what it does is wrong.
KCS, known as the Malay Civil Service until the early 1920s, with its vast administrative experience, cannot be compared with political parties, be it Pas or Umno, what more DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat, in its ability to coordinate such a programme.
Umno leaders who are unhappy that funds are being channelled through KCS instead of the 15 Kedah Umno divisions should take stock of the party president’s decision. over funding.
Surely Datuk Seri Najib Razak has his reasons, especially with reports of millions of ringgit channelled through Umno divisions not trickling down as intended.
While the BN Federal Government resorts to unconventional means to fulfil its promises to improve the livelihoods of the people in Kedah, aid recipients will be appreciative and help return power to BN at the next national polls, which has to be called in less than a year.
And if indeed the BN and Umno chief thinks someone in KCS is a winnable candidate in Kedah, all in Umno should give himthrow their full support behind him as the ultimate aim is to win the contest for Kedah’s 15 parliamentary and 36 state seats.