Hornbill Unleashed

November 18, 2016

Management by complaints

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

In Malaysia, all mishaps are acts of God, or “takdir”.

He has willed that fires, electrical short circuits, rainfall through the roofs and crushing ceilings of hospitals, etc. etc. in many other areas as well have to happen before the authorities would believe that such things can happen. No wonder Malaysian authorities believe that “seeing is believing” and don’t believe that prevention is better than cure.

Malaysia has surely regressed for it has forgotten that one must “sediakan payung sebelum hujan”.  Instead it reminds one of an ancient Chinese saying about looking for a cangkul (hoe) to dig a hole in the ground only upon the urgency to answer the call of nature. In those days, there were no flush toilets and attached bathrooms.

You see, the Malaysian Civil Service practises what is called “management by complaints”. What this means in simple terms is that if there is no complaint from the public, there is no problem, no necessity for any inspections, enforcement, maintenance. The rationale is why waste time, human resources and money when there is no complaint that something somewhere needs action of some kind or fixing.

For example, only weeks ago a Minister said it was a waste of resources to deploy the police to ensure the Red Shirts do not take the law into their own hands. Not very long ago the defence Minister said why scramble jets when there was nothing to shoot down. He was replying to questions on the disappearance of flight MH317 that was apparently detected by the RMAF radar in Butterworth but “presumed to be a friendly aircraft” and hence ignored although it was not positively identified and could have been an enemy aircraft.

Air Force procedures require a pair of jets to be scrambled to identify the aircraft, guide or command it to land and in case of defiance to shoot it down. No, Hishamuddin would only scramble jets if there was something to shoot down.

Similarly, when Putrajaya was flooded early this year Minister Ku Nan had the wisdom to say it was due to drains clogged with leaves. However, he did not explain why the drains had to be cleared by the heavy rains and not by the drain maintenance crews. As the people complained only when they were stranded due to the floods, he was, in other words, saying that it was the fault of the people for not complaining about the clogged drains before the rains came.

Stadiums and other structures have collapsed and construction machinery keeps toppling every now and then onto roads killing innocent people. Equipment like stand-by generators at hospitals have failed to work when there were blackouts. I even heard of an oxygen tank in an ambulance going “0” before the patient on oxygen could reach the hospital.

The list can go on and on. Besides calamities, how many government built white elephants and eye-sores have we seen, such as fountains built for grand opening ceremonies but left to rot after that.

Are maintenance procedures and intervals not set down by the professionals responsible? E.g. how often and in what manner should stand-by generators at hospitals and other critical installations be maintained so that they start-up automatically upon mains supply being disrupted?

Did the Pengarah of the department in charge of maintenance of the streets and drains in Putrajaya ever make surprise checks to see if the drains were clean, instead of waiting for complaints, and then giving excuses?

“Management by Complaints” is a clever way of passing the buck to the public for anything not done by the authorities responsible. It covers up for inefficiency and dereliction of duty.

During his time Pak Lah had succinctly commented about first-class infrastructure and third-class maintenance mentality and culture. Things have only gotten worse.

This is what happens when the political masters have no shame about the shameful state of affairs under their portfolios. Instead they have the cheeks to scold people asking them to resign if they cannot do their jobs properly.

If Ministers had a sense of shame and accountability as in Japan and South Korea, will we have any left in their jobs?

Source : Ravinder Singh@The Heat Malaysia Online


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