YOU WALK THE TALK FIRST BY MARINAMAHATHIR********************************The Government wants us to change our lifestyles to copewith inflation. It is easier said than done since most peoplewere having it difficult even before the hikes. The Governmentmust first set an example by doing things it should have donelong ago.WITH the recent hike in fuel prices and the Government’sexhortations for us to change our lifestyles in order to cope,may I provide here some suggestions for the Government andthose who work for it to “share our burden”.1. STOP HAVING MEETINGS, ESPECIALLY OUT ATRESORTS, FAR ENOUGH AWAY to be able to claimtransport allowances. Have online meetings instead orteleconferences. Use Skype or chat.2. NO NEED TO ORDER SPECIAL PENS, BAGS, T-SHIRTS,NOTEPADS AND OTHER GOODIES FOR THOSE SAMEMEETINGS.3. NO NEED TO ORDER KUIH FOR MID-MORNING ORTEATIME MEETINGS IN GOVERNMENT OFFICES, or nasibriyani lunches for those meetings that happen to endjust at lunchtime.
4. CANCEL ALL TRIPS FOR GOVERNMENT SERVANTS TO CONFERENCES OVERSEAS unless they return with full reports of what they did there, who they met and what they learnt and how they mean to apply what they learnt at home. Ask them to do presentations to colleagues who did not get to go, on the most interesting and important papers that they read. 5. SCRUTINISE INVOICES FOR CONTRACTS to make sure they are truly reflective of what those projects or supplies cost. 6. STOP ELABORATE LAUNCHES FOR GOVERNMENT PROGRAMMES. In particular, stop the buying of souvenirs, special batik shirts, corsages, bouquets and caps. 7. MAKE ALL CIVIL SERVANTS AND POLITICIANS TRAVEL ECONOMY CLASS. That means really travelling at the back of the plane and not buying full fare economy class tickets that allow them to be upgraded to Business Class.YOU WALK THE TALK FIRST BY MARINA MAHATHIR
8. STOP HAVING THE FULL COMPLEMENT OFPOLICE ESCORTS TO CUT DOWN ON PETROLCOSTS. If they need to be somewhere by acertain time, start earlier like the rest of us.Wouldn’t be a bad thing for them to alsoexperience a traffic jam.9. Once a week (or more), HAVE MINISTERS USEPUBLIC TRANSPORT so they know whateveryone else has to suffer. This might providethem with the incentive to improve them.10. Once a week, LET MINISTERS GO TO AMARKET TO BUY FOOD for their families withinstructions to not spend more than RM100.11. GET MINISTERS TO CARPOOL. They mightget more work done just by being able to talk toeach other to see what can be coordinatedbetween their ministries. For instance, theMinisters of Health and Women could discusswhat to do about women’s health issues in thecar on the way to work. Maybe have a secretaryto travel in the front seat to take down notes onwhat was discussed. By the time they get totheir offices, things can get implemented.
12. Once a month, GET CIVIL SERVANTS TOWORK WITH ONE DISADVANTAGEDGROUP in order to be better able toappreciate their problems. It could be blindpeople one month, hearing disabled peoplethe next, orang asli the following monthand people living with HIV/AIDS after that.We could start buddy systems which pairone civil servant with one disadvantagedperson and at the end of it, ask each pair tomake recommendations on how to makelife better for each other. This might get ridof the problem of desk jockeys, people whonever stray very far from their desks yetmake policies for people they know nothingabout.
13. HAVE PA SYSTEMS THAT SHOUT OUT THENAME OF THE OFFICERS WHO HAVE TO SERVEPEOPLE AT GOVERNMENT OFFICES SO THATPEOPLE GET THE SERVICES THEY CAME FOR anddon’t have to keep coming back just because theofficer was out having coffee. No counter shouldbe left unmanned for more than five minutesbefore the officer is paged to go back to theirstations. This should cut down waiting time for thepublic and save them transport costs in having tokeep returning just to get one thing done.14. GOVERNMENT OFFICERS WHO LOSE PEOPLE’SFILES SHOULD BE FINED AND HAVE THEIR NAMESPUBLICISED for being careless and causing in-convenience to the public. Instead of making thepublic travel to heir offices several times to dealwith their problems, they should travel to go seetheir client and deal with it right there and then.And every officer who goes out of the office shouldbe given a reasonable time to get his work doneafter which he is expected back in office so hedoesn’t waste time doing something else.
15. AND NEWSPAPERS SHOULD SAVE PAPERBY REPORTING REAL NEWS RATHER THANNON-NEWS THAT THEY CARRY, particularlynonsensical utterances by politicians. As theysay, we need to do this all together in order tomake a difference. So if the Government andpoliticians make these lifestyle changes, I willdo my part and change mine.Thank You.Marina Mahathir