Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Peranan Baru PTD

The Star, Saturday August 14, 2010

A new breed of civil servants

Ministry of Health Secretary-General

The Administrative and Diplomatic Service (PTD) is expected to lead the way in ensuring that civil servants are not only administrators but managers, specialists, professionals and technocrats.

SINCE Independence, the Malaysian public service has assumed a multitude of roles in meeting the needs and expectations of the public and other stakeholders in the country.

Over the years, it has been credited for playing a key role in Malaysia’s development and modernisation and recognised as one of the best in the region.

In its efforts to meet the expectations of the National Vision Policy, New Economic Model (NEM) and 1Malaysia, the Malaysian public service will continue to redefine itself.

Through various guiding principles or mantras such as “No Wrong Door Policy”, “Business is not as Usual” and the creation of PEMUDAH for improving the public service delivery system by reducing bureaucratic obstacles and providing productive, creative and innovative services, it aspires to become a strong partner with different sectors of the economy in creating wealth for the nation.

The Public Service Department (PSD), being the torchbearer of the public service, has been pragmatically evolving with time and demands. The PSD has and continues to strategically reposition the public service machinery to ensure government policies are implemented effectively.

This task is shouldered by civil servants who are experts in their respective fields. They are innovators and creators who can think and perform well. The challenge is for the PSD to constantly upgrade its human capital by recruiting the best people while training and retraining them into experts.

For the NEM to be successful, the PSD has to work hand in hand with the private sector and the community. The PSD has to facilitate the working of the NEM and to ensure the civil service possesses the right attributes with the relevant knowledge and skills.

The role of the Administrative and Diplomatic Service (PTD) officers in the civil service has also evolved and changed dramatically to meet these radical new developments in the country’s landscape. Some of these new developments can be attributed to the following:

> The increasing technocratic skills and professionalism of political leaders;
> The development of more complex socio-economic and political challenges in managing the country;
> The increasing demand by the public for greater transparency and accountability;
> The increasing and expanding scope of the government’s involvement and activities, and
> The changing landscape of the administrative system with a widening range of functions of the civil service.

The role and size of the Government has expanded rapidly in the last 50 years after Independence, leading to a rapid expansion of the civil service and the PTD, in particular. Today, the Government recruits about 400 officers annually into the PTD and the total strength is approximately 8,000-strong.

The challenge now is to ensure quality and that these new recruits are up to the mark. This is important in order to strengthen the PTD which is the backbone of the civil service. Recent developments in the recruitment of PTD have indeed moved in that direction where entry into the PTD now requires applicants to go through a written test and stringent assessment process with only those who have good leadership potential selected.

With the policy on right-sizing the public sector, the Government may review the number of PTD being recruited. We may see some of the less complex functions of management within the Government, better served by more experienced but academically less qualified personnel.

Recruitment into the PTD will be conducted on a much more selective and competitive basis. The time has come to give preference to the best graduates who are first class honours or 2nd class upper honours graduates and particularly those with academic disciplines which carry greater relevance to the challenges of complex modern management in the public sector.

The PTD scheme of service should cater to a wider range of academic disciplines such as engineers, scientists, lawyers, system analysts, town planners, accountants, and financial analysts.

The time has come for the PTD to do away with generalists. The PTD scheme of service should provide for them to become specialists amongst others in personnel management, finance, business administration, economics and trade as well as land administration.

PTD training has to be developed along more specialised and professional paths with emphasis on modern management. PTD officers need to be grounded and exposed more to economics, finance, business management and information technology, in keeping with the latest techniques and complexities in modern management.

The new breed of PTD officers will be IT savvy, forward looking and forward thinking, as well as good in engaging and networking.

To further meet the challenges of a globalised environment, the new breed of PTD officers have to be broadminded to think and act in a global context; able to respond quickly as well as being multi-lingual.
The Prime Minister has mooted the idea of having a cross-fertilisation programme and giving priority to those who have shown diligence, are capable and have performed well in their respective departments or ministries to further enhance the public service, particularly the PTD.

We will also see greater cross-posting of officers to agencies outside Malaysia to further expose future leaders to international affairs and gain a wide global perspective.

However, we should not forget where PTD has done well in the past. There will be re-emphasis on the very strong traditional values of service to the country and the professional pride that have been the hallmark of the Malaysia Public Service and the PTD.

In conclusion, for PTD officers to remain relevant and current they must benchmark not only against the best in the region but the rest of the world as well. At the same time, we need to self-appraise continually and to be constantly reminded of our calling to serve the rakyat and the significance of being in the elitist branch of the civil service.

> Besides being the president of the Administrative & Diplomatic Service Association, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Nasir Mohd Ashraf is also the secretary-general of the Health Ministry.


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