JULY 22 — It is unfortunate that the country’s top civil servant chooses not to tell the difference between a political party and a government function.
Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan asked today if it would be wrong for civil servants to attend programmes organised by Lim Guan Eng, as the latter was the DAP secretary-general.
This question was in relation to the ongoing spat between Penang state development officer (SDO) Nik Ali Mat Yunus, a federal employee, and Lim, the Penang chief minister.
Mohd Sidek was forced in recent days to defend Nik Ali, and had to answer a question from reporters today about whether it was appropriate for Nik Ali to speak publicly as a government officer while attending a function organised by Umno.
The chief secretary added in defence of Nik Ali: “Would it be wrong if I held a media conference with Datuk Seri Najib Razak? If it is his job as the prime minister and my job as the chief secretary, then it would not be wrong I held a press conference with him.”
No, sir, it would not be wrong. As long as it is a government function, like a press conference with the prime minister.
Or the monthly gathering of the Prime Minister’s Department.
Or a special briefing for civil servants.
It would not be wrong because Mohd Sidek would be attending as the country’s No. 1 civil servant, and Najib would be there in his capacity as prime minister.
And yes, sir, it would indeed be wrong for a civil servant to attend and speak at a DAP function with Lim.
Nik Ali cannot use a party function as a platform to attack the Penang chief minister.
The one thing which this country inherited from our former colonial masters was a bureaucracy.
And in this bureaucracy, it is of utmost importance that proper channels are used to deal with all matters.
Such red tape ensures professionalism.
Of even bigger significance is the fact that the civil service is seen to be impartial.
Political masters come and go, but the civil service remains.
Therefore, it must be neutral.
But going by Mohd Sidek’s arguments, there would be nothing wrong if he attends the Umno general assembly, too, together with the prime minister, who happens to be the party president.
Gross misconception: Mohd Sidek and all civil servants should be apolitical and not attend any political party functions even if invited. Civil servants must not be seen to be taking sides.
My conclusion:It is alright to call a chief minister rude if that was the case.It's no big deal, but certainly not from a state civil servant.
You know! The boss is always right.
Nik Ali is a federal civil servant, where he stands vis-a-vis a state government, I am not sure.
If Guan Eng attacked him first than he should have a right to response, maybe, not the way he did.