I can't resist posting this good piece, even if it's a tad too late. Courtesy of the Sun.
A new sitcom – The un-civil service
TODAY’S COLUMN is a lesson in elementary arithmetic, but to the numerically-challenged, a calculator will come in handy. If the National Sports Council (NSC) pays RM10 million annually for a daily sports programme over television, how much are taxpayers paying on a daily basis?
Working on 52 weeks, it costs RM192,307.69 a week or RM38,461.54 a day. Working on 25 minutes of the programme, taking away five minutes for the commercials, it cost RM1,538.46 per minute assuming the programme is aired on weekdays. So much for them dollars, but let’s talk a little bit of sense. Ask any advertising professional worth his or her salt and the answer would be: Something is not right.
Does the NSC need such a programme? What are its benefits? How many people watch the programme and in advertising jargon, how many rating points does it enjoy? Does it help enhance the standard of Malaysian sports? Who made the decision to enter into such a deal? Did thought go into this before a decision was made or was it signed so that certain quarters can benefit?
In short, they are asking: "what is your return on investment?"
No one wants to say anything. Everyone has suddenly found a cocoon to hide in. Previously, the same people were strutting in three-piece suits with logos emblazoned on their coats. Previously, they showed off their custom-made shirts and uniform – one for every event. Previously, they had the gall and gumption to deny what was said to be the truth. These days, they seem to have found a new clause in the Official Secrets Act to justify their silence. Previously, their letters which ran into pages and copies were extended even to the deputy prime minister. These days, they appear to have lost their writing skills, or perhaps are suffering from selective amnesia.
However, let’s not detract from our arithmetic exercise. So, who gave the authority to the NSC to enter into such a contract for two years with an option for another two?
So, who’s going to take responsibility for the misuse of our funds? We must be stupid to assume that someone is going to put up her hand and say: "The buck stops with me". The finger- pointing game has yet to start, but the countdown has just begun.
Understandably, civil servants are not policy-makers. They are mere implementers of government policy, in this case the ministry’s. So, if the policy goes against public interests, breaks all rules of governance and is a waste of public money, shouldn’t the civil servants stand up and give their views? Shouldn’t they refuse to sign the contract or the cheques based on principles and their conscience?
Even the Chief Secretary to the Government has given them the blessings to go against their bosses’ orders if they feel that the instructions are questionable and not in the public’s interest!
There’s no defence to this waste of public money. There is no justification to part with millions for a sports programme. Those responsible must be brought to book. Otherwise, it will become the un-civil service!
By the way, SportsCenter Malaysia is described as a tailor-made programme showcasing all the sporting news Malaysians most care about.
It says: SportsCenter Malaysia is made IN Malaysia, BY Malaysians, FOR Malaysians -- but drawing on the worldwide resources at our disposal from our sister companies, Sky Sports and ESPN.
Someone forgot to add: A losing business venture paid by Malaysian taxpayers who are suckers for punishment!
R. Nadeswaran believes that in view of the numerous reported cases of misuse of funds, the Auditor-General must carry out a special investigation to find out how the coffers of the NSC have dwindled. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org