Civil servants told to shape up
Azlan Othman

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam underlined significant flaws in civil service in terms of integrity, citing as an example certain individuals who have received scholarships and in-service training who have failed to appreciate and have not complied with the agreement to serve the government.

In a titah at the 20th Civil Service Day celebration at the International Convention Centre yesterday, the monarch regretted the attitude of these individuals. His Majesty urged the authorities concerned not to let this happen and urged them to be firm in tackling it.

The ruler said, “Besides skills, knowledge and expertise, it is equally crucial that the scholarship recipients be nurtured in particular and the community as a whole on the spirit of patriotism and love towards the nation.”

Also present at the event were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik and HRH Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

His Majesty added that on the government side, among the signs of sincerity and integrity are by carrying out existing regulations, be they in the form of acts or circulars. “They should not be ignored, whether people like it or not.

“If they are ignored, it means that we have broken the regulations. It’s not just breaking, but we did not respect them. If we do not respect the regulations, who else will?” His Majesty asked.

“I raise this matter as there are grievances among members of the public and civil servants too, for instance, there are officers who are still not satisfied with the way they are sent overseas for work as there is still a practice of sending the officers alone or two officers (but of opposite sex) when a circular to this effect has been issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Is it really difficult for the parties concerned to understand the content of the circular? Why should we put the officers in a stressful situation by sending them alone?” His Majesty asked. Sometimes, a mother or husband is worried and angry when their daughter or wife is ordered to travel alone.

“In my opinion, the head of department is not eligible to talk about integrity and efficiency if the regulations enforced by the government are not followed. This is where integrity and equality are crucial to be practised to uphold the faith of the subordinates in particular and the public in general.

“It is crucial for civil servants to play their role in an orderly manner and be trustworthy in all their administrative duties in line with the theme of this year’s Civil Service Day which reads ‘Dynamic Administration towards the Country’s Prosperity’.

“Such an administration is capable of becoming a catalyst in aligning the system in civil service. This system is crucial to inculcate creativity, values, togetherness and fairness,” said His Majesty.

The monarch also said the civil service is the pulse of the government as it plays a role in protecting the welfare and prosperity of the nation. “To fulfil this, the civil service should be efficient. It means that the management should be fair to fulfil the needs.

“It is also the responsibility of the civil service to know that any services that fail to meet the public’s needs should be improved immediately. In the use of info-communication technology, for instance, it is high time for us to know the extent of civil service achievement in this field as we know that the government is committed to its financial provisions,” His Majesty said.

Touching on the allocation in civil service, the monarch said, “We are responsible in ensuring that every government project and programme runs as scheduled. For all these, we continue to be committed with various investments for the desired human capacity building. The development of capacity is not solely in the form of skills and expertise but also complementary for the development and interest of the nation.

“At the recent Knowledge Convention, I launched the Syariah Criminal Penal Code Act. I am convinced that with the honesty and solidarity of the civil service in upholding this law, Insya Allah, we will be able to implement it without any problems. Allah the Almighty is certainly with us in empowering His law,” the Sultan said.

In conclusion, His Majesty congratulated the recipients of the Excellent Civil Service awards and Quality Control Circle (QCC) and hoped that it would motivate and give inspiration to all public servants to enhance the civil service.

“I also express my sincere thanks to officers and staff retiring this year for their contributions during their tenure in the civil service and congratulate Public Service Department for publishing a book “Glory of Administration and Civil Service in Brunei Darussalam” which contains a brief history on the current administration and civil service. I believe that this book is useful as a source of reference for all levels of society.”

His Majesty later launched the book and presented awards to recipients of Excellent Civil Service in Division III, IV and V for this year. - Borneo Bulletin (5 December 2013)