Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Show Must Go On...

There you have it. I've issued my clarification statement on the civil service, explained my concerns with the existing government policies towards the public sector and invited the Deputy UMNO Youth Chief to a gentlemen's debate on how to achieve civil service excellence.

Khairy Jamaluddin, disappointingly, has promptly turned down the invite to discuss the all-important issue of improving our civil service, but yet continued to insist that my initial statement on civil service was racially-biased.

The issue attracted decent coverage in The Star, Utusan Malaysia and Oriental Daily. The former two carried the reply from Khairy. Berita Harian however, didn't offer me the right of reply.

In The Star:
...Khairy said that he would not entertain Pua's challenge to a debate, adding that it was an attempt by the Opposition to divert the subject to something else.

[...]

“It is not about me or about debating the issues he has laid forward. He has made a statement that is degrading to the civil service which has irked many, such as the Cuepacs leader,” he said, maintaining his stand that Pua and the DAP ought to apologise.
Utusan juxtaposed our positions next to one another. My statement was reported here while his detailed response here:
...tindakan itu [cabaran debat] disifatkan tidak matang dan Pua dilihat cuba lari daripada bertanggungjawab atas kenyataan asalnya yang secara jelas melukakan hati banyak pihak khususnya orang Melayu.

‘‘Kenapa pula hendak berdebat dengan saya? Ini sudah menjadi sangat tidak relevan daripada kenyataan asalnya yang jelas menghina kakitangan perkhidmatan awam.

‘‘Kini terpulang kepada dia sama ada hendak meminta maaf. Kita sudah tidak kisah kerana sudah jelas nampak niat buruk beliau yang kini sudah terdedah,’’ ujar Khairy.

[...]

Khairy menyifatkan cabaran Pua itu sebagai permainan politik kotor. “Dia cuba menggunakan jalan pintas untuk melarikan diri daripada masalah yang sedang ditanggungnya,” kata beliau.
In summary, my invite for a "reasoned, collected and rational debate" on how to improve the civil service in Malaysia is:
  1. A diversion tactic
  2. Immature ("sifat tidak matang")
  3. Irrelevant ("tidak relevan")
  4. Of clear unscrupulous intent ("jelas nampak niat buruk")
  5. Dirty politics ("politik kotor")
Malaysians can decide for themselves if my statements and open invite to Khairy even remotely represent any of the above "allegations".

But there's only one thing I'll reiterate here, that is my constructive criticisms of the government's policies towards the civil service is not racial, nor is it an insult to civil servants.

While I'm happy for Utusan to have carried my views with little "cuts", I'm disappointed that the paper has decided to headline the issue as a challenge to the "integrity and capability of Malay civil servants (kewibaan dan keupayaan kakitangan awam Melayu)", which it clearly wasn't.

My initial statement was entitled "Record Pay Rise Solves Only Part of the Civil Service Problem". In particular, the Government must streamline the bloated civil service, which is among the largest, proportionate to the population it serves in Asia.

Irrespective to Khairy's unfortunate rejection to my invitation to a sensible debate, the forum on "Civil Service Excellence: Quality vs Quantity" will proceed as planned. Yes, the show will go on, and we will reserve a seat on stage for the UMNO Deputy Youth Chief providing him with the opportunity to change his mind at any point of time.
Topic: Civil Service Excellence: Quality vs Quantity
Venue: KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
Date: 30th May 2007 (Wednesday)
Time: 8.00 pm
Besides myself, several distinguished speakers, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Nurul Izzah Anwar and Sdr Lim Kit Siang have confirmed their participation, while we are still awaiting confirmation from several other exciting speakers. It'll be updated here once they have confirmed attendance.

We look forward to seeing you there! ;)
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