A neutral civil service

Posted on February 2, 2013

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By Singa Terhormat

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It was lately reported that Dato’ Haji Fuad Bin Tan Sri Haji Hassan, Director-General of JASA (Department of Special Affairs under the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture) at a Johor Social Media Partner gathering at the Johor International Convention Centre in Johor Baru had campaigned for Barisan Nasional in the coming elections.

fuhasHe is reported by Malaysiakini to have said:

“God willing… BN could obtain a two-thirds victory in the upcoming general election if we continue to work hard and strive to achieve what was targeted.” (emphasis added)

Who is this Fuad Hassan?

He is brother to former IGP, Musa Hassan, and actor, Jalaluddin Hassan.

His father, Tan Sri Hj. Hassan Azhari was a well-known and respected Qur’an teacher.

Fuad was a two-term Barisan Nasional State Assemblyman before losing to Azmin Ali in 1999.

He was at one time also President of the Malaysian Youth Council.

Now, unless I have misread the relevant portions, the General Orders governing the conduct of civil servants, including those under contract, specify in Peraturan-Peraturan Pegawai Awam (Kelakuan dan Tatatertib) 1993 (P.U.(A) 395/1993 Section 21 (1) (a) that a civil servant in the category that Fuad Hassan is in, is not permitted to issue one-sided public statements on issues between political parties.

The relevant provision reads:

“21…seseorang pegawai dalam Kumpulan Pengurusan Tertinggi dan  KumpulanPengurusan dan Profesional adalah dilarang mengambil bahagian aktif dalam aktiviti politik atau memakai mana-mana lambang sesuatu parti politik, dan khususnya dia tidak boleh-

(a)  membuat apa apa pernyataan awam, sama ada secara lisan atau  beretulis, yang memberikan  sesuatu pandangan yang berat sebelah atas apa apa perkara yang menjadi isu diantara parti-parti politik”

Now we all know that civil servants are required and expected to be politically neutral in their work. Civil servants are required to serve whichever political party forms the government of the day and their work is expected to be non-partisan.

Civil servants are paid from public funds derived from taxes paid by members of the public including members and supporters of all political parties.

It is inherently wrong, ethically, morally and legally  for a civil servant in his work to side with a political party.

I dare say it is wrong from Islam’s viewpoint too.

Referring now to what Fuad Hassan had to say, that is  “God willing… BN could obtain a two-thirds victory in the upcoming general election if we continue to work hard and strive to achieve what was targeted” , I wish to advise him that what he has done is wrong, ethically, morally and legally, including too from the Islamic viewpoint.

I also wish to advise him not to use, which really amounts to abuse, the name of God in such circumstances.

I do hope, Fuad, that your late father, that well-known teacher of the Qur’an, did teach you that.

Let us now see whether any action will be taken against Fuad Hassan by the Chief Secretary to the Government, Dato’ Sri Ali Hamsa.

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It will speak volumes of his leadership and dedication to serve thepeople of this nation, or the lack of it, depending on what he doesor does not in this matter.

As Malaysia’s foremost civil servant, heowes a duty to all of us to do what is right.

I do feel sorry for all our civil servants.

The BN Government hasstripped them of all sense of pride, respect and dignity in not allowingthem to conduct themselves professionally in their work and  indenying them the opportunity to perform in a proper, neutral manneras dignified civil servants in their service to this nation.

They have overthe course of time been intimidated  and threatened into submission by the BN politicians in Government and made, as in the case of Project IC in Sabah and in so many other instances, to act illegally and immorally.

How many a civil servant must have toiled with his conscience in doing the illegal and unethical bidding of his political masters, only God knows.

It is time for our civil servants to free themselves of this bullying that has gone on for too long and to reclaim their right to conduct themselves impartially and morally in serving the people of this nation in a.dignified, professional manner.

It is time for them to reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

It is time for them to try out a different set of political masters.

The matter, really, is in their own hands.

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