Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where Does Your Loyalty Lie?

Again I have been mulling on a question.

Many Malaysians work in the public service. So as civil servants (or Government servants, for want of a better term), where should they place their loyalty in? The ruling Government? Or the party that promises a better future for the country?

Who should civil servants vote for? The hand that feeds them (nevermind what this "hand" has/has not done in the past)? Or the hand that could bring change (and promises better governance of the country)?

I agree that for a government to function effectively, there must be a high degree of unity among its workers, who would be the implementers and executors of the policies and plans. But to what extent must this loyalty entail?

Voting is a personal right an individual possesses in a democracy, regardless of what occupation one holds. If someone in the private sector is free to vote for whoever he/she chooses to, the civil servant should be free to do the same.

The civil servant should not feel obligated to vote for the ruling party if he/she does not feel the party competent of continuing its reign in national leadership, just because his/her job is seemingly on the line or because cash rewards are suddenly being thrown at them. In fact, the employer of the civil servant is the tax payers, i.e. public. Therefore the civil servant is obligated, as a citizen, to vote for the party that he/she thinks would best lead the nation to greater heights.

This would translate to electing in a better custodian (the new government) and hopefully, if all goes as promised, a happier employer (the public). A happy employer will not grudge rewarding the employee (the civil servant). A full circle of satisfaction is created.

I do not speak from a far-off pedestal, but rather from just beyond the window looking in - coming from a government-owned company (GOC). I believe we have much more freedom  in expressing our views (outside the work environment), but there have been instances where I have sensed some undertones of politicising our function as an agency. Perhaps it is too noble to aspire for a completely neutral environment when there is a link to the government.

Therefore the country's future is in your hands; as well as mine. We each have a duty to do what we think best for the nation and from our respective humble stations in life, we should promise to try make our own little wave of change; however small it may be.

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