Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NEM needs a professional touch

THE bold initiatives as outlined under the New Economic Model require a lot of commitment and expertise at the implementation stage.
It is easy to be cynical and say “I have heard all this before.”
The new angle is that the government is serious about its mission which is not to be viewed as just an election ploy.

The real test is when the Government goes down to the nitty-gritties and shows its sincerity by hiring the right professionals to steer and see the plan through.
That means implementation is to be seen as a task to be completed with timelines and benchmarks meticulously laid out, in the same way as jobs are accounted for in large corporations.

Dragging of feet, favouritism and personal agendas would not fit into this new scheme of things.
It would be truly wonderful if a totally new set-up were to be established to carry out this bold vision. That is not to be mistaken as introducing another layer of bureaucracy into the implementation process.
Bright and capable civil servants can be seconded for the mission, for which there should be a separate branding, organisational structure and reporting lines that focus on quick and efficient action as well as feedback.

At the same time, the pace of change also takes into account the human element, incorporating various sensitivities while adjusting the speed slowly but surely to reach specific goals.
There cannot be an overnight fix to the problem even though it has suddenly become very worrying that many neighbouring countries are fast catching up and may soon overtake us - in terms of wealth accumulation, investments and competitiveness.

A powerful issue to be addressed is skepticism on the ground especially among the older generation that has long observed certain unsatisfactory developments or those who could have been subjected to a regime that favoured certain ingrained practices or preferences.
A proper model, details of which would be fine-tuned following intensive consultations, is required in both private and public sectors, after taking into account all the stumbling blocks and impediments to change.

Perceptible signs of change are appearing at various levels of the social and corporate world, in both private and public sectors. However, the culture and mindset of the past will require more time and possibly substantial effort to overcome age-old attitudes, mistrust and fear.
Survival is a difficult game but those who realise the need for it and are willing to accept the hard challenges will likely be the winners.

Source: The Star Online (31 March 2010)

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