Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tan Sri Sidek Hassan's Sharing

Just came back from a sharing and Q&A session by Tan Sri Sidek Hassan, organized by MIT Club of Malaysia. It is a gathering of many top notch Malaysian Alumni of various top universities and it is definitely a good exchange with Tan Sri Sidek Hassan, who is the Chief Secretary of Malaysia.

The title is "Enhancing Malaysia's Competitiveness through Effective Government Delivery". I would definitely summarize that Tan Sri Sidek has done fantastically great in addressing the issue. He has definitely earned the respect of many attendees, who gave him standing ovation at the end.

Being the top man of a civil service of 1.2 Million people is definitely not easy. Imagine there are thousands of government departmnets/agencies at various locations and it is not easy to manage everything to be perfect.

He used to come from Ministry of International Trade & Industry and hence he always cite his mentor, YB Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, who have definitely stamped her mark on him.

Tan Sri Sidek, with his no-nonsence attitude, wants civil service to deliver with integrity, or rather he put it must deliver with integrity.

He showed us how while Malaysia has improved on various metrics, our ranking drops. And it is due to other countries are moving much faster than we are. There is no excuse on that, except buck up and fight back.

Pemudah was set up and Tan Sri Sidek is the co-chair together with Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon, Chairman of Federation of Manufacturers, Malaysia (FMM). That task force is to improve our delivery system and reduce bureaucracy.

Tan Sri Sidek stressed upon service and want civil servants to challenge themselves and solve problems within shortest time possible. Enhance responsibility and respond speedily. He stressed many times of utilizing emails, instead of snail mails. He stressed that he checked his email , sidek@pmo.gov.my , all the time, including weekends.

He wanted all government agencies to provide prompt services and do not give excuse for delays. Everything should be done within the time frame set by the charter.

The key themes are implement, monitor and enforce.

Eventually, for civil service to improve, it would be about sharing, learning and developing and utilizing teamwork and communication.

There has been discussions on whether Malaysia is getting the best crops and whether the civil service is getting the best crops and the discussion on scholarship holders being employed in civil service.

Tan Sri Sidek mentioned that the current starting salary of degree holder at RM2,800+ is significantly more than private sector.

He mentioned of example of Datuk Dr. Rebecca who jump from Superscale C to be Deputy Secretary General of MITI within a few months.

He stressed that he wants his staff to use the way Datuk Seri Rafidah does. Everything has a deadline, which specify clearly what day, what date and what time.

When responding to emails, use Reply All and not Reply, as he wants visibility and monitoring of everyone doing work.

He talked about how Selangor State Government has made promises on their websites and they should be monitored by public and ensure that they are being achieved.

He cited an example when he visited a local council, when he saw a couple of papers inside a Suggestion Box. He asked for the key, but the key was not available. The person is not around. And when he took out the feedback forms, one of them is 40 days old. And that means, the suggestion box has not been opened for at least 40 days.

He talked about getting Harvard and MIT Professors to train the 2nd echelon leaders who are in their 40s and have another 10 years to go in civil service. 300 of them are trained for one week each month for 4 months. That would hopefully be able to develop a large number of leaders.

He stressed on his commitment to train the leaders, especially through INTAN and training those Deputy Secretary Generals etc.

For those with suggestions/feedback/complaints on civil service, do email Tan Sri Sidek, if it warrants his attention. His email is sidek@pmo.gov.my .

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