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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Civil service heads told to cut costs, up efficiency

Heads of government departments and agencies have been reminded against spending more to “improve” the level of their service to the people.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan said on the contrary, measures to enhance public service delivery were supposed to help the administration save money.

He said currently, many Government agencies often went about creating new posts, promoting existing staff or give other allowances as a way of promoting productivity and efficiency.

“If these measures are effective, the agencies should be helping the Government save money and we don’t have to spend.

“For instance, measures to enhance service can simply mean doing away with unnecessary forms or cutting down the number of staff processing certain applications and reassigning them to other tasks,” he said in his speech at the launch of the Prime Minister’s Department Quality Day on Thursday.

“The effort taken by a staff to speed up a process does not need extra money. Similarly, we don’t have to spend to handle queries at our counters with a smile or in a polite manner.

“As civil servants, we should carry out our duties immediately and with a sense of urgency,” he pointed out.

Mohd Sidek said similarly, the implementation of extra activities or a programme by an agency following a Government directive did not have to involve additional allocation or too huge a sum.
Agencies and departments, he added, had to also think “outside the box” and be prepared to be self-criticised in their quest to further enhance their service.

“During this global economic crisis, higher productivity and efficiency become more important in drawing foreign investors,” he said, adding that both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister had indicated their general satisfaction with the level of public service.

On the Government’s offer of quarters to civil servants affected by the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide, Mohd Sidek said so far, 11 people had indicated their interest.

“Out of this 11, five of them have taken their keys. They will be placed at the quarters in Precinct 14. Although they are not entitled to the quarters, this is a special case,” he said.

On the report that Immigration enforcement director Datuk Ishak Mohamed opted for early retirement after he refused to take up a transfer to the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Mohd Sidek said he was not aware if the former had been “forced” to do so by those in charge.

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