If all Cabinet Ministers and State Ministers are like Datuk Seri Idris Jala – the new Minister in the Prime Minister’s department – the Malaysian government will be drastically transformed and through it all the relevant cogs in the nation’s wheel, including those of the private sector.

For there’s no doubt that the efficiency and efficacy of the public sector has a direct bearing on the efficiency and efficacy of the business and commercial sectors. The philosophy, ethics and principles of good governance adopted and practised by the government directly influences what goes on in the other sectors of the country, their effects and influences being greatly interrelated and largely reciprocal.

The former Shell Director and Malaysian Airlines CEO together with a government old hand Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon are tasked with the responsibility of drawing up a roadmap for the Government Transformation Programme (GTP). Under this iniative lies the working mechanisms for the Key Performance Indicators and National Key Result Areas, the two initiatives announced by the Prime Minister earlier, to ensure that the country achieves the developed nation status envisioned in Vision 2020, and meets with the current national goals and objectives.

One can say that the Government Transformation Programme is Datuk Seri Najib’s bid to come up with a freshly articulated national philosophy/ mission/ goal and objective/ strategy/ mechanism that will define his premiership just as Vision 2020 has done for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. If/ When fully executed the GTP bears the promise of a national legacy worthy of a smart and dynamic leader leading his country to greater heights of development.    

Two weeks ago at the MABC (Malaysian Australian Business Council) annual dinner, I had the privilege of listening to Idris Jala detailing his team’s efforts clearly and directly. The general impression was that it was indeed refreshing to see a Minister, not spewing out the usual rhetoric and promises but actually presenting his current work in a power point presentation.

It was unusual because it was presented not in the conference room for a closed-door office briefing but on stage to a dinner audience of more than five hundred people.



What was unfolded by Idris Jala was not so much the grand master plan but the actual workings of the 8 laboratories established to brainstorm and thrash out the best ways to achieve the 6 KRAs identified by the Prime Minister. Each laboratory comprises 20 of the best brains in the civil service who have to come up with radical, practical and innovative solutions to the nation’s worst woes. Moderated by efficient and independent facilitators, the labs represent a bid to spearhead and coordinate the work of all the Ministries under one roof so to speak – when in the past it was diffused and dispersed in different directions with a lot of wastage and damage.

Idris Jala announced that some time in December, the public, media, NGOs and civil servants will be invited to view the results and products of the labs and they will have the opportunity to give their feedback. In early 2010 the grand master plan or the entire road map will be available for public scrutiny. Only then will the rakyat be able to see how the GTP complements the other government initiatives like the NEP, the anti-corruption and crime reduction, education and welfare programmes.

What Idris Jala is doing is to motivate, inspire and activate mechanisms and personnel who are stuck in the malaise of a bureaucracy and an administrative system that has inherited a host of bad habits and poor work ethics made worse by a lack of integrity.

What we hope Idris Jala will also do is to inject a new esprit de corps among the civil servants to have pride in serving the nation honourably, ethically, responsibly, selflessly, efficiently, effectively and diligently!



1 Response to “”

  1. 1 Gopal Raj Kumar
    February 12, 2010 at 3:41 am

    I often wondered what this east Malayian looked like. More important, I wondered what others who may have been fortunate enough to come into contact with him thought of him.

    I was privy to a correspondence between the man and journalist (Malaysia Kini) Joe Fernandez somtime in 2007. It opened my eyes to the calibre of the man then CEO of MAS.

    Fernandez’s criticisms of the airline were caustic. Idris’s responses were forensic and neutralised Fernandez’s attack very quickly. He showed genuine concern and in his responses took time to personally convey his vision for the airline and let it be known that he was not averse to criticism if it were constructive.

    The point though, and it is a very important one. This man in the chair had time to personally write to a disgruntled passenger (and how many passengers trvel on MAS?). What it conveyed to Joe Fernandez was this:

    We have many passengers and few complaints. I therefore have the time to respond to the small number of complaints we receive so that complaints are far and few from hereon and the service we provide unimpeachable for your comments.

    His comments were personally written by him and not his PA.

    Gopal Raj Kumar

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