Laws for everything under the sun

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Jasmine Tea complains about petty bureaucrats and poor service at some government departments. Just who is serving whom?

Photograph: http://syahrulzaman.blogspot.com/2012/03/only-in-malaysia-3.html

You will get a full blast of typical Malaysian petty bureaucracy when you visit any government department office.

A friend of mine who was married to an Englishman was told at the NRD (National Registration Department) in Penang that she could not change the name on her identity card from her maiden name to her married name.

She asked if she could have an “alias” (@), but that was also refused by the officer, saying that there was no law in Malaysia that allowed one to have a change of name.

She told him that her mother had an @ added to her maiden name and could use that officially for bank accounts etc.

The petty bureaucrat’s reply: “Oh, now, you cannot change your name or have an alias by law. Name changes on marriage are only done in the US or the UK!”

As nothing could be done to penetrate the thick cranium of this petty bureaucrat, my friend gave him a parting shot of, “What a pity!”, that seemed to baffle him, as he didn’t seem to understand the implications of the reply.

For anyone who doesn’t get it either, such a reply could mean,
1. Sorry, you have no commonsense whatsoever.
2. It’s a pity, you’re so lazy and can’t get your backside out of that chair.
3. It’s a pity, you think I’m stupid, or
4. I see, marriages registered under Malaysian law are not recognised in Malaysia, according to you.

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There is a current lack of rational thinking and logic in government departments, especially when petty bureaucrats don’t know their job, or even what they’re doing warming the seats behind the counters in those government departments. This particular specimen of petty bureaucracy apparently thought he was very clever parroting the law but failed to see that what he said was completely nonsensical.

If one were to think about the excuse he gave, it would follow that, a law is needed for every thing we do no matter how small or insignificant. It would be good to know which law tells him that he should take a bath everyday or when he should eat or go to sleep.

I wish there was a law that tells these petty bureaucrats in clear terms, what they should be doing during working hours, and what they should not be doing during working hours, and that if they don’t do any work, they should not be paid.

Leg shaking and tongue wagging (gossiping) seem to be endemic amongst petty bureaucracy in many government departments. It is not difficult to witness this first hand, almost everyday. At the end of the day, the taxpayer has to admit that this is another waste of our hard-earned money, on so much deadwood in our government departments.

Another financial leakage that should be accounted for and is not, apart from all the big time financial scandals that have been exposed and reported in the media. We pay for the services in government departments but get no service at all.

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Ironically, some of these bureaucratic parasites try to shift their work onto us, when we are in fact, their paymasters.

Jasmine Tea is the pseudonym of an occasional contributor to Aliran.

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