PUTRAJAYA: Civil servants have been reminded not to abuse their right to free speech by issuing statements that can affect the good name of the civil service or the government.
“A civil servant must not spread false news, make accusations or libel other officers for their own personal agenda,” the Public Service Department (PSD) said in a letter dated Aug 8.
The letter, issued to the secretaries-general of all ministries, was signed by PSD director-general Datuk Seri Mohd Shafiq Abdullah and was posted on the department’s Facebook page.
It comes days after the PSD director-general was alleged to have berated an immigration officer at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Aug 3.
The Immigration operations head was said to have been rebuked when there were no immigration officers stationed at the VIP lane between 8.40am and 9.40am.
However, the PSD dismissed the claim, saying the officer was actually reprimanded for not complying with practices and procedures.
The staff member had failed to check the director-general’s delegation members’ travel documents and passports but directed them instead to the Customs inspection counter to proceed with their journey.
Following the controversy, a committee was set up, chaired by Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, to investigate the allegations.
Other members of the committee are Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, Auditor-General Datuk Seri Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki.
The PSD letter said civil servants must not make statements for a personal agenda that goes against laws and regulations.
“The department will not and cannot allow any public servant to be libelled or treated unfairly by any parties with a personal agenda,” it said.
The department reminded civil servants to take the views, suggestions and reprimands from interested parties – including higher-ups – positively.
“Those who have been reprimanded – be it by the public, colleagues or higher officials due to unsatisfactory service – should not retaliate by provoking the other party,” it said.
The PSD also reminded civil servants that protecting the country’s security and sovereignty was the responsibility of all Malaysians as it could affect the country and the government’s integrity.
“There must be no element of compromise or favouritism, especially when it involves security at important entry and exit points,” it said.
The PSD told department heads to monitor the work of their officers and reprimand them if they are negligent.
“Disciplinary action, up to termination of service, can be taken against a public officer if there is evidence to prove his actions are tantamount to disobeying orders,” it said.