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Malaysia: Ethics and Excellent Public Servants
Source: bernama.com
Source Date: Monday, October 18, 2010
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Country: Malaysia
Created: Oct 18, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 (Bernama) -- The public sector is constantly evolving through new leadership, environmental influences and socio-political development.

In managing the change and in creating excellent public service, good ethics among civil servants is seen as the fundamental pre-requisite.

But what does ethics means here? Is it all about being good?

According to Prof Dr Syed Omar Syed Agil, the Deputy Dean of Razak School of Government at Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNIRAZAK), ethics are values and principles that we use in making decisions.

"They help us decide whether our actions are right or wrong. We usually think about this in terms of people making decisions in difficult personal situations."

Organisations, as well individuals, have ethical standards. These standards help to ensure that the individuals who make up the organisation maintain a consistent approach in carrying out their responsibilities and make the right decisions even in difficult situations.

They also ensure that members of the organisation maintain a consistent and appropriate level of behaviour towards one another and towards the organisation’s clients, he said to Bernama recently.

RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING RESOURCES

Dr Syed Omar says the public administration is responsible for managing resources entrusted by the community. It provides and delivers services to the community and makes important decisions that affect all aspects of community life.

The community has a right to expect that the government operates fairly, impartially and efficiently. The community must be able to trust and have confidence in the integrity of the public service decision-making process.

Within the public administration, he says, the government needs to make sure that its decisions and actions properly reflect the policies and the standards the public expect.

The community''s expectation that the public service will maintain the same standards of professionalism, responsiveness and impartiality in serving successive governments is a key element of a nation’s system of democracy.

GLOBAL GOVERNANCE

Dr Syed Omar points out, globalization has made possible a rapid diffusion of ideas and practices, enabling the public to demand higher standards of integrity, transparency, accountability in the public administration.

"Gaining and keeping public trust must be approached holistically, as the threads of integrity, transparency and accountability are knit together to uphold all public administration and ultimately, governance reforms," he said.

Corruption, ethics and integrity have become important issues in the practice and theory of politics, public administration, law, economics and society.

The explosion of new information and communication technologies is also allowing for a rapid, global diffusion of ideas and practices, enabling the public to demand higher standards of ethics, transparency and accountability in the public sector.

According to Dr Syed Omar, this has also led to greater awareness and knowledge of the ethical or moral dimension of politics and administration and the causes of and solutions for ethical dilemmas and integrity violations.

Contemporary management theory also highlights the value and role of learning institutions in trying to reconcile those difficult dilemmas which governments must face and, furthermore, help people to manage change effectively.

ROLE OF ETHICS IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

As a developing country, Malaysia has achieved successes in many fields. It now aims to become a fully developed nation by its own mould by 2020.

In order to become a successful nation and to further strengthen its achievement towards excellence, glory and distinction, Malaysia must effectively manage its success, says Dr Syed Omar.

The transformation towards a developed nation is not solely based on economic and technological progress. It also needs progress in social, cultural, intellectual and spiritual realm.

To achieve this, the enhancement of ethics and integrity to ensure that they become part of the society''s culture is absolutely necessary.

Only with these values and norms in place, our successes can be sustained and the people''s well-being enhanced.

ETHICAL PRACTICES

At the same time, the first world infrastructure facilities already in place in Malaysia will not be wasted or misused and the third world mentality can be eradicated.

The government is aware that the public sector is the most important instrument in management and administration, as well as in the delivering services and national development.

Ethical practices and integrity must therefore be reflected in all undertakings.

Upholding good moral values and being free from corruption and abuse of power should continuously be emphasised in the civil service.

Since independence, the government has introduced various programmes aimed at enhancing good moral values and integrity in the public service.

Since 1980s, in particular, greater attention has been given to concepts like ''Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy'', ''Integration of Islamic Values'', ''Excellent Work Culture'', ''Code of Work Ethics'',''Client''s Charter'' and ''ISO 9000''.

In April 2009, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak introduced the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) with two main objectives, first, to transform the government to be more effective in its service delivery and be accountable for outcomes that matter most to the rakyat; and second, to help Malaysia move forward to become an advanced, united, and just society with high standards of living for all.

-- BERNAMA

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