Words from our Bapa Pembangunan - Still relevant?

Saleh Mohammed | .

I have dipped my pen in the ink of hope...hoping that there will be marked improvements in the political, social and economic climate for our future generation.

So that our children and grand children may well be proud, that in the years to come as they progress, in our absence, they can say with pride in their hearts that we did not fail them

He was a politician and civil servant who understood well the need to be circumspect. Upon discovering that it would cost RM30,000 to build a swimming pool at his official residence, he had to disappoint his children. “What would people say?” he reasoned to Najib, his eldest son.

“At what point, in dollars and cents, does corruption lose its temptation? How much should we give in order to buy honesty?”

I cannot remember where I found the above statements but I think it should be the ‘talisman’ for us Malaysians.

For this article, I will just leave it to you to assess and form your own opinions on whether our politicians and civil servants are heading towards the right direction based on the thoughts of our Bapa Pembangunan about half a century ago.

Put to good use, the power of the internet is immense. I managed to trace some words of wisdom and words of advise from our Bapa Pembangunan.

...let us consider what is development. Development means, first and foremost, a change. A change of attitude and a change of mind.

...let me remind you that the aim of the Government is to lead the people towards the sense and reality of nationhood. The supreme need is to build a united Malayan Nation.

...the guiding  principle of this Government is peace, justice and prosperity.

...Today we have a Government of the people whose representatives sit in our Parliament to make the voice of the people heard in the highest councils of the land, Therefore, in such society the people are intimately involved in the Government of their own country.

...the Civil Servant is a servant of our King...Civil Servants continue in office even though there may be a change of Government...the Civil Service must be impartial and free from political influence.

...Ministers, although their liberal status is like Civil Servants too, i.e. servants of the King.

...No Minister can defend himself by blaming his officials.

...Being a politician I should not, of course, talk anything about politics to you as that would be tantamount to tempting to bring political influence on you which will be against the known practice in a democratic country.

...there is a principle of the Ministerial responsibility or the rule of anonymity in the Civil Service, The Minister is responsible to Parliament for the act of the Civil Servants under him, and he cannot free himself of the blame of his officials. This principle is necessary if the system of Parliamentary Democracy is to work smoothly.

...If everyone of us, politicians, civil servants and others carry on our duty with the right spirit and loyalty, with the true interest of our country at heart, then I have every confidence, our young independent country, which now occupies a prior place in South-east Asia will continue to shine as a bright star in the world.

...Civil Servants are independent and must express their views to the fact that even if the facts may be unpalatable to the Minister. It is the duty of the officials to put the facts before him and the officials will fail in their duty if they try to bring submission of a case if they know or suspect it to contain a different political point of view.

...Indeed, it is the general practice in a democratic country not to appoint a person who is an expert on a particular subject as Minister responsible for that subject.

...Permanent officials are the experts to give advice and the Minister is to bring the common man's point of view to the administration of the State.

...I am proud to say our Civil Service is second to none in Asia today. You will have to get away quite often from your desks to see that work assigned to your departments is being carried out quickly and properly. So your shirts will get wet with perspiration and your shoes covered with dust. We all should work not merely for our rice and curry but also for the betterment of our country. You should discard the old idea that your work is limited to the sectional responsibilities of your departments. The new concept of official duties flows beyond departmental boundaries into the stream of national endeavour.

...the Civil Servant, of his role of an employee was not an authority in himself... When he leaves his office, he leaves behind his official title and position and assumes his own place in the family and in traditional society.

...We can have rules and regulations governing the conduct of Civil Servants... The most effective assessment of this is public opinion inside the service itself. Tradition, convention, self- criticism, self-improvement are the virtues which should be cultivated by the Civil Servant.

...you will have one satisfaction to know, and that is you are serving your own people and your own country. It is a national service and not for gain,

...what is all too often forgotten that the two main corner-stones of Government policy are (i) the maintenance of law and order and (ii) the economic and financial stability of the country. On these two foundations all our hopes for future peace and prosperity, and the policies to achieve them, must rest.

...In other words we must always endeavour to consolidate our resources at any given project or another rather than attempt too many new ventures at one time. We must be realistic and consistent.

...Many people in this country are still living in a sort of Never- Never-Land mentally and are content to let others do the bulk of the nation's work and the thinking for them.

...when everyone does his quota of work in the national interest, the country will achieve progress, prosperity and unity.

...Statistics by themselves are often meaningless to the lay public unless they

are translated into human terms.

...It used to be said one time that we in Malaya set great store on imported goods, imported culture and imported ideas, and that they regarded goods and ideas originating from the home soil as inferior.

...Living as we do in a democracy, we are frequently reminded in terms which are usually both voluble and vehement, that we must always safeguard free speech and the freedom of the Press. If we did not have these freedoms, we would miss a considerable amount of wit and humour.

I wish to add that rural development was always in the late Tun Hj Abdul Razak’s mind (Al-Fatihah and may his soul rest in peace).

Lately, politicians are fond of making sweeping statements that seems to stem from ignorance of the will and desire of the rakyat.

Lastly, whilst the rakyat is parading in unison with keenness, enthusiasm and full of vigour, we equally need the energy, support and commitment from our politicians and civil servants in achieving the precision in our march forward to greatness.

Good luck Malaysians.

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