Civil servants at an impasse

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The tension between federal and state governments is often played out in the civil service. This makes it necessary for Malaysians – and especially civil servants themselves – to contemplate the ideals surrounding civil services in general. To do that seriously, some knowledge about how civil service structures differ from state to state and why they differ is required.

Since taking over several state governments, one of the areas the Pakatan Rakyat has had to contend most with is the civil service. A majority of the bureaucrats working within the state governments are federally appointed, especially higher-ranked officials from the prestigious Administrative and Diplomatic Service (Pegawai Tadbir dan Diplomatik).

This situation has been problematic for all involved, especially when these public servants have to serve the state government of the day on the one hand and report to the federal government on the other. The confusion is worse when policy directives from the two levels of government are in clear conflict with one another.


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