November 01, 2016

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Shake up now or it will break down!

Khin Maung Myint

After the epic trips by the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to the United Kingdom and the United States of America on diplomatic missions, which were widely chronicled in the world media, our country has gained much prestige on the international arena. Along with the attentions and respects accorded to her, the country gained many privileges too.
The lifting of the economic sanctions by the United States of America, financial assistances from United Kingdom and France and pledges of assistances from other European countries, the revoking of the human rights watch by the European Union are the most visible gains. The latest trip to India was also a success and the forthcoming diplomatic trip to Japan would undoubtedly be a productive one too.
With some of the main obstacles or the stumbling blocks from outside having been removed, it’s now the duty of us citizens, to strive earnestly towards the development of the country in unity. However, I hope I wouldn’t be wrong if I say that there are still some domestic obstacles that need urgent clearing, to be able to realize our dreams of a peaceful and prosperous nation.
The first domestic obstacle that needs immediate removal is the armed conflicts, which are still raging on while the peace process is underway. All armed groups should join the peace process and find a solution to put an end to the hostilities that has been going on since our Independence. It’s not an unachievable goal if all parties genuinely want peace. Hopefully, it would be achieved soon.
The second obstacle is complicated and poses more problems and could cause hindrances in the nation building process: the deteriorated civil service system. The civil service system is the foundation of any bureaucracy, which must be well maintained. As an ex-civil service personnel, I’m well aware of the many pitfalls in the present civil service system and the behaviours and mindsets of some undesirable personnels who are still in the services. Most of the readers may still remember the remarks made by the late Ex-Prime Minister and Minister Mentor of Singapore, in which he pointed out that the civil service system in Myanmar had collapsed, while they had maintained theirs’. On first hearing that remarks I was not pleased at all, however, he proved to be oright.
Now that the civil service rules and regulations are in the process of being amended, I wouldn’t be touching that subject in this article. Thus, I will be discussing the need to cleanse the various government departments, commissions and entities, and those that are operating as joint ventures with the public sectors. In my opinion, there still remain many individuals who are clinging to their old practices. Most are corrupt, arrogant, incompetent, and worse of all they haven’t changed their mindsets. They are either oblivious to the changes the country is undergoing or, unintentionally or otherwise, sabotaging the progress by carrying on as before. For instance, the mishandling of the human rights abuse case by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commision (MNHRC) is one such example. Judging that incident, it can be deduced that there are still many such unethical individuals in every governmental and related organizations. Habits and behaviours are hard to change, but we cannot afford to allow those with undesirable habits and behaviours to remain in our civil services anymore.
I had pointed out in one of my previous articles, “Now It’s the Floor’s Turn” (6/7/2016 GNLM), the necessity to replace the decayed floors to save the building from collapsing. What I intended to point out was to get rid of such undesirable persons from the ranks of our government organizations and entities if we earnestly want to make significant changes, but I must admit I had been hesitant to say it frankly in that article. It was a weakness on my part then, but now, I think I should be more open in expressing my opinions, which I did in good faith without animosity towards anybody, but for the good of the country.
It has been over six months since the new administration was at the helm and had already made public their policies and priorities, as to how to steer the country on to the right path to development and prosperity. Though there are many visible improvements in every aspects of governance, there are still many more to be done. The most urgent and pressing issue is the presence of some misfits who are corrupt, disloyal, unworthy, incompatible and undeserving to the ranks they hold at every level of the hierarchy in almost all the government organizations, entities, joint ventures and commissions.
The worst of all is, some of them are opportunists without any trace of loyalty, principle or integrity and would not hesitate to do anything for their gains. There are some who are dragging their feet purposely and are not cooperating with the new administration for various reasons. Such insincere individuals could do more harm than good to the nation building process. They have already been given enough time to change, so the best solution is either they change or quit.
Thus, it’s high time for organizational cleansing to get rid of such undesirable elements. To be broad-minded and being lenient is a noble thing, but leniency should be shown only to those who deserve it. It would be better to train new bloods who are loyal than to depend on those disloyal old hands just because they are experienced. Embracing such insincere persons would be like “breastfeeding the vipers”, as we use to say. Shake up now or the civil service mechanism will be headed for a breakdown.
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