Rid of bureaucracy and silos, Sarawak’s civil servants urged

Jaul (third left) presenting a souvenir to Abang Johari. Also seen are (from left) Sabariah, Mohamad Asfia, Manyin and Shahabudin.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 16: The state civil service must reinvent its service delivery by implementing a citizen-centric approach by tackling complicated bureaucracy and removing silos in order to ensure seamless, integrated and more accessible solutions that people can directly benefit from.

Highlighting this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg thus wanted Sarawak to emulate the success of countries like Estonia and South Korea through emphasis on the use of technology and innovations.

“I have always wanted to compare our success with that of Estonia as we want to make Sarawak a digitalised (sic) state that adopts technology in our civil service as well as to close the gap between the people and the government.

“If a small country like Estonia can succeed, I feel Sarawak can also be successful in this region. And South Korea which has no natural resources was once behind Malaysia but today it is so far ahead. But with an innovative citizens and high technology culture, Korea has succeeded,” he elaborated.

Abang Johari thus believed that Sarawak, which has advantage of resources, can achieved its vision and mission to be a developed state by 2030 by following in Estonia’s footsteps with technology application and South Korea’s with quality of people.

He highlighted this when officiating at the Sarawak Civil Service Innovation Convention Awards (SCSICA) 2020 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today.

The main administrative dysfunction which civil servants and citizens have faced for centuries, he pointed out, concerns the fragmentation of large bureaucratic organisations.

“Consequently, the citizens face various obstacles to access public services that rely on flawed interaction among several different agencies, (and thus) reinforcing the traditional view of a government that is distant from the expectation of their constituencies.

“Citizens (today) know more and are better educated with ready access to technologies that not only force governments to be more transparent but also to rethink notions of transparency. And their expectations are growing for improved service interaction in every aspect of their lives,” he said.

Therefore, Abang Johari emphasised that governments must drive change through governance, culture, and quality management to modernise service delivery, moving it from a state of complexity and fragmentation to one with an easier and integrated one-stop access.

“For the citizens, this will result in more effective and efficient service delivery.

“For us, as the government, to provide excellent service delivery, we must shift from simple transactions to a more integrated service approach that focuses on citizen-centred approach-based outcomes,” he said.

Abang Johari (third right) presenting the SCSICA Special Award to the recipients.

The Covid-19 pandemic, Abang Johari asserted, has created a new type of citizen in a new type of world who expects speed, change, accessibility, more transparency and responsive services from all aspects of the public sector.

Implementing a citizen-centric approach, he said, will innovate and simplify the public service delivery by focusing on what governments are trying to achieve in terms of citizen outcomes, integrating information between multiple siloed systems, and working collaboratively with other agencies.

The concepts, he added, should focus on the needs of the citizens; deliver one-stop government services that are effective and easier to access; integrate citizen information which can be accessed and reused; as well as foster collaboration, coordination and partnership between agencies and departments to improve offerings and delivery.

“While the administrative silos may continue for organisational purposes, building partnerships, collaborations and networks that work together is the key for service delivery excellence.

“By using these concepts, we as the government must be agile and responsive to the needs of the citizens. Only then we can redefine how we serve citizens, and in so doing, will build and improve trust and confidence of citizens towards the government,” he added.

Abang Johari firmly believed that as governments modernised service delivery, citizens will experience more effective, efficient service delivery with easier access.

He thus challenged the public sector to further develop, replicate and improve on citizen-centric innovative solutions.

State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, Deputy State Secretary Datu Dr Sabariah Putit, Sarawak Federal Secretary Datuk Mohd Shahabuddin, Sarawak Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Amar Michael Manyin Jawong, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and Minister for Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian were among those present. — DayakDaily