Gov’t to reintroduce procedures to address bureaucratic red tape – Mahathir

SERDANG, March 25 (Bernama) — The government is to reintroduce the old system that encompasses manual procedures, desk files and task flow charts for civil servants to address bureaucratic red tape, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The Prime Minister said these enabled a civil servant to know what to do when there is a request to execute a work procedure without having to go through a complicated bureaucratic process.

He said he had discussed with the Chief Secretary to the Government, Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar, on the need to reintroduce the old system.

“If one does not know how to discharge one’s duty, one has to ask someone else; this will delay the process. If there is a task flow chart, civil servants can perform their tasks and hand over the subsequent tasks to others.

“When the matter reaches the top officer, it will be checked to determine whether it has been executed correctly before the request is approved, and this can enhance the bureaucratic service,” he said during a question-and-answer session after launching the Cuepacs premier assembly at Universiti Putra Malaysia, here.

Acknowledging the existence of the bureaucratic red tape in the civil service, Dr Mahathir said work cannot be done without bureaucracy, but problems arise when there are too many processes to doing something.

“(For example) One person wants to run a tourism project in Langkawi. He has to seek permits from close to 20 departments. So, there’s a delay; sometimes the officers themselves are not very competent or do not know what their responsibilities are,” he said.

At the same time, he said, the public should also know the procedure to obtain the approvals for any application.

“At times, they (the public) only obtain the approval from one department, but they do not know that they have to obtain the approvals from three or four other departments,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said the Chief Secretary to the Government is striving to provide a procedure book for the public on what they have to do when they want to do something.

“For example, if you want to open a hotel, there are several things you have to do before you can get a licence to set up a hotel. The book will advise the people what they have to do and which department they have to go to. If the government can do this, then I think we can reduce the bureaucratic red tape.

“Sometimes, bureaucratic red tape sets in when we have weaknesses. If we want to be treated well, we will also ask the government. And, if we delay work, that is a form of corruption. If there is a delay, some people pay to expedite the work,” he said.

Replying to a question on the rising cost of living, Dr Mahathir said the government is striving to control the rise in the prices of goods as the cost of living continues to rise despite the abolition of the Goods & Services Tax (GST).

“In business, the cost of the middleman is very high. For example, the vegetables grown in Cameron Highlands cost 50 sen per kg but the cost is RM7 per kg in the market. Don’t tell me the trip from the farmland to the market is so costly,” he said.

In this regard, Dr Mahathir said he has asked Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub to investigate the high prices of vegetables.

— BERNAMA

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