PH should take pains not to follow in BN’s footsteps

Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Aminuddin Harun was reported as saying that spouses of senior civil servants are not allowed to attend events organised by anyone associated with the Barisan Nasional (BN).

Now, why shouldn’t they? The wives are not government servants. Even if they were, why can’t they attend a BN function? This is something that a BN leader might have said when BN held the reins of government. BN leaders made the opposition look like demons — the enemy — and who civil servants were not supposed to associate with.

When the people voted for change, we also voted for reforms. Reforms include freedom of association. Even though the government is led by Pakatan Harapan (PH), that does not mean that civil servants can not support non-PH parties or alliances. If PH insists that civil servants and their spouses must support only PH and PH-allied parties, they are no better than the BN that was ousted for such autocratic behaviours.

And, since when did the government have authority over the spouses of civil servants to dictate what they can and can not do?

This ia a case of Animal Farm creeping in. You are now in power and do the same thing you accused the previous administration of doing. No, this must be nipped in the bud!

Civil servants are expected to do their jobs no matter which party or coalition is in government. Who they support is entirely their choice. Who their spouses support is nobody’s concern. However, neither civil servants nor party members holding government positions should use government time and resources to show or lobby support for their political, religious or social causes. Outside of office hours and their scope of work, who and how they support is nobody’s business, unless, of course, it is criminal behaviour.

Aminuddin made the earlier statement in connection with some civil servants who had attended an event organised by the Association of Wives of Barisan Nasional elected representatives and senior state government officials (Pekerti). He said the civil servants had explained to him why they had attended the Pekerti event and that they had assured him that they would not attend any event organised by anyone associated with BN.

This isn’t reform. Under the previous administration, attending a BN or BN-linked event might have been regarded as acceptable and even necessary to get in the good books of the bosses. That practice, however, should be discontinued. Party and party-linked affairs should not use government time, money or personnel and, definitely, should not be funded by the government.

But, in their own time, what civil servants do is up to them.

PH leaders need to think through their decisions so that they don’t trample on the human rights of any individual now that they are in power. They need to be careful not to behave in the same way that BN leaders did for which the latter was booted out.

They have to learn how to respect the rights of others and act in ways that demonstrate it. They have to develop and define a leadership style based on respect for human rights and NOT follow in BN’s footsteps.

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