LETTERS: THE call by the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, to heads of department to go down to the ground to feel the pulse of the people should not be regarded as an admonition but more an encouragement to find ways to serve them better.
He rightly pointed out that by doing so, the senior officers could see and understand the problems faced by the people and then find practical and better ways to solve them.
When civil servants have their ears to the ground, they are able to hear words of wisdom that are more down to earth than textbook solutions. They will be able to know first-hand how effective some relief measures have been and then know how to tweak them, if necessary, in double quick time.
Another route to winning the hearts and minds of the people is to speak to non-governmental organisations and community-based leaders as well as religious organisations. That indeed is thinking out of the box and an innovative approach to give meaning and substance to “Madani Malaysia”.
Currently, the traditional and social media give space to the woes of the people, which include the rising cost of living, unemployment and loss of income. Finding ways to help the rakyat overcome these issues, even partially, requires a first-hand understanding of the variations in the intensities of the problems based on location and other circumstances.
For instance, in some places — especially in urban areas — one of the main issues is the cost of securing business licences, especially for petty traders and stall owners. Would the government reduce or waive the fees, just for a year or two, until the small business people can ride out the storm?
Would it also be possible for the authorities to waive payment of fees in respect of applications for replacement of lost identity cards (MyKad) and birth certificates from the National Registration Department?
Another issue which must be resolved once and for all is the pollution of our water sources which have caused disruptions in water supply especially in Selangor on numerous occasions. Thousands of households were affected by water cuts due to the river pollution problem.
A joint and dedicated effort by the various enforcement agencies can easily put to end this public scourge.
While government officials are looking at other ways to help the rakyat during these difficult times, it will also be good for them to look inwards.
In the spirit of “Madani Malaysia”, they could set an example by sympathising and identifying with the rakyat. After all, it is the duty of our leaders to lead by example. For instance, they could make it a rule to only serve Menu Rahmah meals for official meetings or functions in line with the prime minister’s call to government departments to be thrifty.
Of course, there can be variations in the menu but each meal should cost only RM5. Besides the cost saving, it is a demonstration by civil servants of their solidarity with the people for whom they were employed to serve.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE