The Sarawak Civil Service, now undergoing a transformation, has the objective to be more efficient in service delivery, accelerating the pace of development to attain the status of a developed state with high income economy by the year 2030 and enhancing the quality of life of the people through deliberate programmes and engagements.
Essentially, it requires the cooperation, collaboration, ideas, efforts and energy of all the members, who each has to internalise, subscribe and be committed to the vision and mission; it is the shared responsibility of all members to carry out the transformation.
Undoubtedly, the transformation, with the ultimate goal of achieving the vision of a world class civil service, is a huge task as this is only a means to an end. The eventual goal is to inspire and empower the people to shape their own future through the world class service delivery.
Literally, as civil servants, they serve the people. The ultimate objective of everything that they do is to make life of the people better. Undoubtedly, it is a very noble and selfless undertaking.
The State Secretary, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Mohammad Morshidi Haji Abdul Ghani, during a gathering with members of the State Civil Service, said as civil servants, they had a crucial role to play in building and maintaining a resilient and competitive economy, enhancing social harmony amongst the people and empowering the people to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.
They had to implement policies, projects and programmes that had been designed to ultimately create the right environment for the people to earn a good living, raise a family and lead a fulfilling life.
He concurred with a view of a top official of the Obama Administration, who said: “There is no higher calling, in terms of careers, than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the world”.
He considered the state’s credo “An Honour to Serve”, a clarion call for members of the Civil Service to do their job with passion, dedication and full commitment. They could not afford to fail as it would mean that they had failed in their sacred duty and obligation to the people.
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi believed civil servants would find their jobs immensely enriching, meaningful and satisfying if they could truly understand and appreciate their jobs in the service of the people, state and country.
In this regard, they must endeavour to develop their capacity to respond and adapt to unavoidable forces that demand different approaches in the way that they had to do their work in the common struggle to push Sarawak to greater progress and prosperity towards the year 2030.
He said members of the civil service, more than ever before, must have the courage and the wisdom to undertake necessary changes to ensure that they remain relevant and responsive in the service to the people and the state.
They had to work in an increasingly globalised and competitive environment, which entailed new and complex challenges and rapid changes in technology. More importantly, they had to cope with the rising expectations of the people while facing increasing constraints in resources.
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi said the transformation agenda was driven by the conscious awareness that the future well-being and achievement of the people depended on how they could respond to changes that demanded new ways of doing their work. In other words, it should not be driven by any desire to leave a personal legacy.
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi said the civil servants would fail in their collective desire to make Sarawak the most developed and most prosperous state in the nation by the year 2030 unless they could go through the transformation; they would not be able to bring any significant difference to the livelihood of the people if they were to remain status quo.
Basically, members of the civil service would not be able to build Sarawak of tomorrow with the civil service of yesterday; hence the need for the transformation of Sarawak Civil Service (SCS).
On the other hand, their services would be in vain if the people could not feel or make a difference in their daily lives.
He believed members of the civil service could help to make Sarawak a special place where the people could live, work and do business in peace and stability if they could do their job well and with greater integrity, responsibility and transparency.
Essentially, Sarawak must have a smarter civil service, which, for example, should be able to hold the pulse of the people and act fast on issues and problems being raised by them. Therefore, it is important for them to practise management by working about in doing their jobs.
Personally, he has already started the management by working about by visiting at least one place a month to find out the problems and needs of the people on the ground and help to find speedy solutions to the problems.
He suggested that relevant officers should make it a point to “turun padang” (go down to the ground) at least once a month to engage with their frontline staff and the people. There is no way they can understand the needs and problems on the ground if they make themselves invisible and unavailable to customers.
If necessary, they may also visit the farms or factories or kampung/ longhouses of the people to understand better the context of their problems as their ability to empathise with customers depended very much on how they could engage with customers.
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi said they must discard the benevolent attitude of “I know best” and be willing to be sensitive and responsive to complaints and criticisms of their customers. In other words, they must be ready to listen and observe during their visits.
Besides, they must be ready to regard issues or problems being raised by the people as feedback and opportunities for them to learn and improve their services. Perhaps, it is time for them to listen, see more and talk less.
He advised civil servants to cultivate the habit of asking questions as civil servants must always ask themselves how they could serve their customer better. They should not operate like mechanical robots without understanding what they were doing and why they were doing it.
They should endeavour to become reflective officers and be more inquisitive by asking, for example, what would be the consequence of their actions if they failed to do what had been expected of them.
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi said the State Civil Service had been implementing its version of Balance Score Card, a performance management tool, which allowed organiSations to translate their vision, strategies and goals into measurable performance indicators to enable them to integrate and link them to their common vision and mission. .
He believed, as every action of an agency’s member would be linked to specific strategic goals and be measured systematically, the implementation of SCS Scorecard would help to instil focus and accountability among members of the civil service in doing their work.
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi is happy that all the Ministers have recognised the value of implementing the SCS Scorecard and given their full support. All the ministries have presented their scorecards to their ministers.
He said the State Civil Service could assess more objectively how it could contribute to the overall development of the state and its economy through the scorecards, which comprised key input from all its agencies.
He thanked officers, from the lowest to the highest rungs of the ladder, who had been working quietly, diligently and unnoticed from behind the curtain to make the implementation of the SCS Scorecard possible.
He said many them had been proven to be extremely talented and fully committed to their work. They were truly the silent heroes. Their excellent performance should serve as examples for others to follow in providing excellent service to the people, state and country.
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi said all heads of departments must take personal accountability and commitment in resolving issues that affect their agencies. They must be prepared to invest their time and effort to know their job, organisation, customers and the context in which they operate. Basically, they must be sensitive to what is happening in their environment and take proactive measures to mitigate potential problems.
He would not accept inaction and would not defend officers, who had allowed problems on the ground to blow up because of their apathetic and indifferent attitude. Actually, they were expected to take timely actions to nip potential problems in the bud.
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi believed the State Civil Service, now already acknowledged as one of the best in the country, would be able to move further onto the path of excellence through continued dedication and commitment of its members.