A parliamentary reply has given a new insight into the strange directions that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib is taking the country with his slogan of “Endless Possibilities”.
Malaysia has one the largest civil services in the world, with a 1.4 million civil servants accounting for 10 per cent of the labour force.
In 2009, Malaysia’s civil servants-to-population ratio was the highest in the Asia-Pacific. The ratio was 4.68 per cent compared to Singapore’s 1.4 per cent, Indonesia’s 1.79 per cent, South Korea’s 1.85 per cent and Thailand’s 2.06 per cent – all of which have less than half our ratio.
Strangely enough, despite having one of the highest civil servants-to-population ratio in the world, Malaysia is relying increasingly on foreign consultants even to draft national documents and masterplans.
Recently, the country was shocked by the revelation that the government spent RM20 million to international consultant McKinsey and Co to draft the National Education Blueprint, when in the past, all national plans, blueprints and official documents were drafted by local experts.
As a result, I put in a question to ask the Prime Minister to list “all the reports, masterplans or official documents in the past 10 years which the government had commissioned foreign consultants to prepare, like the Malaysian Education Blueprint which was commissioned to McKinsey & Co., the identity of the foreign consultants and the cost of each commission”.
In a written answer, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, failed to give a fulsome response, such as the identity of the reports and consultants commissioned, and the respective individual costs, except a general reply on the costs incurred by the Prime Minister’s Department for outsourcing drafting of national reports and blueprints to foreign consultants from 2008 to 2013, viz:
2008 – RM 3,313,121.00
2009 – RM17,751,570.00
2010 – RM20,134,063.00
2011 – RM71,904,227.45
2012 – RM84,535,849.77
2013 – RM18,349,135.80
The answer raised even more questions, including what is the Najib administration trying to hide when it failed to answer the very clear question on the identity of “all the reports, masterplans or official documents in the past 10 years” where the government had commissioned foreign consultants to prepare, “the identity of the foreign consultants and the cost of each commission”.
In the past five years, RM212.5 million had been spent to outsource the preparation of reports, masterplans and official documents to foreign consultants, a rare practice in the early decades of the nation’s history under the administration of the first five Prime Ministers.
It would appear that in the first 52 years of the nation’s history under the first five Prime Ministers, there is greater confidence in Malaysians than on foreigners or foreign consultants in their ability to think and plan for the country’s future, whether economic or educational, that the practice of outsourcing the preparation of national plans and masterplans to foreign consultants was a great rarity.
Is this one important meaning of Najib’s “Government Transformation Plan”?
In any event, why is the Najib administration shy to enumerate all the reports, masterplans or official documents which had been outsourced by the Prime Minister’s Department to foreign consultants to prepare, the identity of the foreign consultants and the cost of each commission?
I call on Shahidan not to commit the unparliamentary practice of avoiding my question but to give a full reply to my question, listing all the reports, masterplans or official documents which had been outsourced to foreign consultants to prepare, the identity of the foreign consultants and the cost of each commission.