GEORGE TOWN: Various quarters here have applauded the move by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed to axe the contracts of around 17,000 political appointees who had served under the previous administration. Retired academic Dr Mustafa K. Anuar said that the number if it is verifiable, is deemed as too high for any government. "It is a wastage and the resources can be utilised better in critical areas of the government," said Mustafa. His views were shared by newly elected Jelutong MP R.S.N. Rayer, who suggested that a high number of such appointees are usually in the National Civics Bureau (Biro Tata Negar), whose role is to sow more hatred than national unity. The agency under the Prime Minister's Department was created to instil a sense of patriotism and national unity but in their conduct of special briefings to sections of the civil service, the agency tends to produce more disruptive narrative rather than positive inclinations of nationhood, said Rayer. He said that the civil service has long tolerated the entry of political appointees or cronies instead of recruiting staffers based on the criteria of qualifications and experience. Hence, it was only logical to get rid of such appointments, said Rayer. There is also the sense that the appointees are only carrying out duties akin to what their political masters prefer rather than in the larger context of nation building, Rayer said. He was responding to Mahathir's statement that 17,000 would be laid off but those who are earning a low salary package, the new Pakatan Harapan federal government will re-designate them to other areas. Political analyst Yusmadi Yusoff said that such appointees represent the era of Barisan Nasional, whose main thrust of governance was to divide and rule; therefore the need to have their officers in every aspect of governance. But now, Pakatan which preaches "Malaysianess," there is a need to incorporate all officers and the private sector on the same page, he noted. According to Yusmadi, who founded the Rights Foundation, there is a need to ensure that effective governance has a widespread reach rather than one which only caters to the elite. "The results in the election shows that Malaysians want change, so we must provide them with the platform to change; to reform."