Ee Ann Nee
PETALING JAYA: Civil servants need to re-assess their roles to remedy the tarnished image which the public has on government officers’ involvement in corrupt practices.
In giving this advice, Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Datuk Omar Osman told The Malay Mail it was not the lack of supervision at government agencies but rather a more underlying need for civil servants to review their job function in order to achieve a graft-free work environment.
Citing an example, he said an officer with the same department for 10 to 15 years was more likely to be involved in bribery as the officer would have attained much power during the long tenure.
“As government employees, we sign the civil service agreement to uphold the civil service pledge. Officers should not, for monetary gains, sacrifice their image and respect for oneself. They should not let illegal gains get in the way of their duties and let go of the offenders. There should be no compromise,” said Omar.
On allegations of widespread graft, he also said one cannot solely push the blame to civil servants.
“When carrying out their duties, officers do encounter risks and are sometimes threatened. With no one paying attention to them, sometimes they are afraid as they don’t have insurance and protection, especially when coming across thugs. Feeling defeated, they sometimes do not dare to report the incident,” said Omar.
He also said civil servants should not collaborate with bribe-givers but report them to the authorities or to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
He said Cuepacs supports MACC at eradicating corruption, and called on civil servants to be the "eyes and ears" to MACC in reporting bribes offered.
“To curb corruption is not easy but if every civil servant re-looked their roles and objectives, we can certainly bring the level of corruption down.”
Omar said civil servants needed to work together across all levels and have proper discussions and debate to instill responsibility.
He also said the rules and systems at government agencies should be reevaluated, with tighter security and stricter procedures when dealing with people entering and leaving government premises and at places where contacts can be made.
“Not all civil servants are involved in graft and the public should not group those who are not involved with those who are corrupt. Those involved in receiving bribes are just a handful, but it affects the image of the civil service in general. However, civil servants should not take this as a hindrance but work on improving and correcting the situation.”