KUCHING, Jan 25 — Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has pointed out that the state civil service can no longer blame the Covid-19 pandemic for project implementation delays.

He said Sarawak needs a civil service that is capable of acting fast to accelerate the state’s development.

“In the thick of Covid-19, I can tell the rakyat that delays to project implementation are due to Covid-19, but with Covid-19 on the downward trend, I cannot tell the rakyat that delays are because of Covid-19 anymore. We must deliver the projects to the rakyat as promised.

“I must tell you that what happened now is that a lot of the ‘Projek Rakyat’ is quite slow in implementation. It could be caused by bureaucracy or red tape, may be due to procedures, which has the effect of slowing down the process of implementation of projects, or taking of corrective measures if there is any problem along the way,” he said when officiating the Sarawak Civil Service (SCS) Day 2022 here today.

Abang Johari shared a case in point —  the Marudi Bridge, which has been delayed for about a year.

“We have terminated the contract with the contractor and we have decided that a rescue contractor has to come in to complete the project, but certain procedures have to be adhered to that has been preventing Public Works Department (JKR) from taking the corrective measure as fast as desired.

“I am not suggesting that we want to forgo procedures as the element of integrity or good governance must always be the basis of public spending. But there are procedures that I believe can be adjusted so that our development can be expedited,” he said.

Therefore, Abang Johari hoped that the members of the state administration machinery will take note of the situation.

“If there is any need to revamp the procedures then revamp them. Some of the procedures are obsolete. I have directed State Financial Secretary (SFS) to study the procedures not because we want to do away with procedures as stipulated in the Treasury Instruction, but we have to change procedures which are not necessary anymore.

“With the advent of digital technologies, financial procedures need to be aligned more practically with technologies as what had been done by the Land and Survey Department which has practically put information on land administration, including native customary rights (NCR), at the tip of the finger,” he said.

Abang Johari pointed out that the Sarawak Civil Service and also the Federal Civil Service in Sarawak play a crucial role in providing solutions to deal with the emerging circumstances and to help keep the state’s wellness, social and economic wheel moving forward.

“Therefore, I call upon all civil servants to be the pendulum for this plan. All SCS agencies, people, processes and technologies – everyone must converge, one heart and one mind, coming together as a ‘whole of a government approach’.

“We must create an ecosystem of service delivery that promises the assurance that the 2030 vision will become a reality,” he said.

The SCS Day 2022 celebration was attended by civil servants from the various state and federal government agencies; both physically at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching as well as virtually.

The chief minister also witnessed the presentation of various awards to acknowledge civil servants for their contributions in 2020 and 2021.

Among those present were Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, Federal Secretary Datuk Amir Omar and State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar. — Borneo Post