Public service officers cannot be appointed just on the whims and fancies of those in power, according to Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr. Mahathir is on a mission to make talent acquisition, retention and appointments in the public sector transparent and merit-based.
There has to be a mechanism that ensures that those candidates who have the right skill set and attitude towards serving their country as a public servant, actually get the chance to hold public office.
Handing out favors and rewards to public service officers takes away the integrity of the Malaysian government, Dr. Mahathir said, in a Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption meeting in Perdana Putra.
The decision about who gets a promotion and who doesn’t was still made by the Malaysian ministers. However, the ministers will now have to provide relevant reasons for the promotions and rejections. The aim is to have a due process that provides a transparent structure to the way appointments are made in the public sector.
Appointments to coveted posts, such as foreign delegates, ambassadors, high commissioners sent on overseas missions, will no longer be political. Those individuals who already hold public office will be considered for these positions, Dr. Mahathir said after the meeting.
In case of a disagreement or varied opinions, each minister has to give her/his reasons, the Malaysian PM said. Moreover, retired individuals who were approached with rewards in order to step out of retirement and take up the ambassador posts, will be recalled.
The government is in the process of drafting a new Public Services Act that tackles the issues of corruption and lack of integrity in rewarding and promoting public service officers in senior management roles.
When Dr. Mahathir got elected as the PM earlier this year, he launched inquiries into preexisting corruption cases within the government as well. Introducing anti-corruption methods within the HR process of onboarding government employees, is yet another step that the newly elected yet veteran prime minister of Malaysia has taken.