KUALA LUMPUR: The proposal to gauge the integrity of civil servants, particularly those attached to enforcement agencies, through polygraph tests, has won the approval of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC).
EAIC chairman Datuk Yaacob Md Sam yesterday said the test, if implemented, should focus on agencies that deal with security.
“I welcome the suggestion on the polygraph test, but it should focus on personnel in the armed forces or agencies that deal with national security and government secrets.”
Immigration Department director-general Datuk Mustafar Ali, when asked if the department was ready to introduce polygraph tests for its personnel, said the move was a step in the right direction towards a corruption-free civil service.
Mustafar, who is former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission deputy chief commissioner (prevention), said the test would ensure that the right personnel were appointed at the recruitment stage.
“No doubt, it would involve extra costs and manpower, but it would eventually augur well for the civil service,” he told the New Straits Times.
He said the test would be useful in screening personnel for critical posts and those who handled sensitive matters.
He said besides polygraph tests, authorities could also use psychometric tests and the “mentor-mentee” approach to ensure that integrity issues were addressed.
Police Force Commission member Datuk Hadi Ho Abdullah, when contacted, refused to comment.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, meanwhile, told the NST to ask the question at a press conference.
The NST contacted Federal Police Management Department director Datuk Seri Zulkifli Abdullah for his views on the proposal.
He said: “If that is what the Public Service Commission wants to implement, there is no problem.
“We are open to suggestions. We will see if it is compatible with us because we currently already have integrity tests, especially for our recruits.”
He said the police had integrity tests to ensure members of the force were not inclined towards corruption.
He said the police had polygraph machines, but they were only used for witnesses in certain cases.
ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND DIPLOMATIC OFFICERS
Former National Institute of Integrity president Datuk Dr Mohd Tap Salleh, who is also executive council member of the Alumni Association of the Administrative and Diplomatic Officers, said polygraph tests could weed out bad apples.
“I am in full support of this.
“However, it would be better if polygraph tests are also used on personnel who are under investigation.”
Tap said the tests should also be used periodically on staff who handled procurement, the government’s coffers and public funds.
“The tests should be done across the board.
“It will keep people on their toes as they know they can be called up for a lie detector test at any time.”
The Customs Department could not be reached for comment. By Hani Shamira Shahrudin, Tharanya Arumugam and Zafira Anwar