Expedite response to public woes

LETTERS: I attended a forum at the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) on "Public Service Delivery System— Making It More Efficient and Effective" on Dec 4.

Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, in his keynote address, gave the assurance that the government was doing all it could to improve the public service delivery system.

The system is still "work in progress".

While acknowledging the government's ongoing efforts to enhance the public service delivery system, it is crucial to emphasise the gap between policies and their impact on the everyday lives of the rakyat.

One glaring concern raised is the lack of responsiveness by civil servants to public queries and complaints.

It is disheartening to note that many public grievances, whether voiced in Letters to the Editor or other forums, often go unanswered.

This lack of acknowledgment and action leaves the public feeling unheard and underserved. Furthermore, the disconnect between performance and year-end bonuses for civil servants raises questions about accountability.

Fahmi shared his commitment to addressing individual issues through direct communication channels like Whats App. (He receives more than 2,000 WhatsApp messages daily.)

While commendable, a more efficient, macro-level approach is needed. This involves government authorities responding comprehensively to issues on a nationwide scale rather than tackling concerns on a case-by-case basis.

Reflecting on past successes, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan's initiative during his tenure as chief secretary to the government stands out.

His proactive approach ensured timely responses to issues published in newspapers. Public relations officers were tasked with staying informed, and Sidek's direct contact information facilitated swift actions and solutions.

To address the predicament, a straightforward method is needed.

The chief secretary to the government can issue a directive mandating all ministries and agencies to promptly respond to public complaints, whether in newspapers, viral messages on WhatsApp, or letters from the public or non-governmental organisations.

Even if further investigation is required, an acknowledgment of receipt should be sent.

It is time for the government to fulfil its basic responsibilities and elevate the standard of public service. Taxpayers deserve prompt and professional responses to their concerns. It is the duty of public servants to serve the rakyat professionally and be accountable. Let us return to these fundamental principles for the benefit of all.


Former Economic Planning Unit officer, Prime Minister's Department

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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