PUTRAJAYA: Being tolerant and receptive to criticism are two qualities that civil servants in Malaysia should cultivate.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that as servants to the public at large, they must also be considerate.
He pointed out that when criticisms are directed at a government department, “there must be a reason”.
“The said department must look at the merits of each complaint and take appropriate action,” he told civil servants at the Prime Minister’s Department monthly assembly at Dataran Perdana today.
The public can lodge complaints with the Public Complaints Bureau (PCB), that has received various complaints, including allegations of power abuse and misconduct, unfair treatment or lack of action.
Last year, PCB received 6,397 complaints, compared with 6,494 in 2016.
Mahathir reminded civil servants that when they deal with the public, they will encounter different kinds of people.
“They must be ready to interact with everyone. To do that, they must always be tolerant.”
Mahathir added that he had read reports claiming that civil servants have become lackadaisical and no longer efficient.
“Whether this is true or not is open for debate.”
He reminded civil servants to accept criticism and take corrective action if there is basis to the allegations.
He acknowledged that many civil servants face problems because they have to work with colleagues “with different attitudes. It is important that civil servants learn to give-and-take and be tolerant,” he added.
“We have many problems (inherited from the previous administration) but we have only managed to solve about half of them. The relationship between the old and the new has to improve. Therefore, forgiving one another will be a way to move forward.”
He reminded the civil servants that it is the practice during the month-long Hari Raya celebrations to forgive.
“By doing so, the country and everyone of us will benefit,” he added.
The prime minister said the tradition of holding open house allows people of all races and religions to mingle and maintain harmony in the country.
Records show the strength of the civil service today is about 1.7 million, up from about a million in 2003.