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Tuesday September 10, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday September 10, 2013 MYT 9:09:47 AM
Hard at work: Civil servants at the Penang National Registration Department attending to the crowd in Georgetown.
PETALING JAYA: Civil servants who resort to irresponsible behaviour on social media should be wary of the consequences of their action, said Cuepacs secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng.
“Since the government has given us the facilities to enhance productivity as well as to make our jobs easier, we should never abuse it.
“Those who are bent on mocking whatever the Government does, should do it at their own peril,” she said.
Lok, however, said she did not know if such acts were rampant.
Former Cuepacs secretary-general AH Ponniah, however, said civil servants should not be denied their right to criticise the government via social media, provided their comments was not related to their work.
“It’s their right, they have not sold their souls just because they are government employees,” he said.
Ponniah, who served nine years as Cuepacs secretary-general said that provisions against making public statements and tarnishing the image of the government were broad and subjective.
He said civil servants should not be punished for making general comments which are not confidential in nature.
“Also, besides reporting corruption to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, there are few avenues available for civil servants to voice or highlight complaints.
“While there are intra-department arrangements, not all civil servants are entitled to use these mechanisms,” he said.
The Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee co-chairman Andrew Khoo said what civil servants did online, with their own computers, in their private time, was their business.
“Just like they cannot be forced to vote for the government, they are free to express their opinions in support or in opposition to the government. The government should respect that freedom,” he added.
Khoo, however, said civil servants should use provisions in the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 to expose wrongdoing or they risk running foul of the Official Secrets Act if they write about it on social media.
A human resource manager said social media policies for employees were a common place in many multi-national companies.
“Employees are prohibited from criticising both the company and their colleagues on social media,” she said.
She added that employees with legitimate complaints could call their ethics hotline and channel their grievances directly to their headquarters overseas.
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Government, Civil servants and ther freedom of expression on social media
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