Anwar wants more women in top civil service posts


PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim emphasised the need to appoint more women as secretaries-general of ministries and directors-general of departments.

Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister, said that the current representation of women leaders does not reflect the overall 42% of female participation in decision-making roles in public service.

"There are certainly not enough (women leaders). Seriously, I have discussed with the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, that we should find a way to increase the number of women in secretaries-general and directors-general positions," he said at the Malaysian Administrative and Diplomatic Service Association (PPTD) Aidilfitri Town Hall Meeting with the Prime Minister here on Thursday (April 25).

Mohd Zuki, Public Service Director-General Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz, PPTD president Datuk Seri Isham Ishak, Alumni of Administrative and Diplomatic Officers (PTD) president Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali and more than 2,000 PTD officers attended the session.

Currently, among the women leaders in high-ranking positions are Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, Customs Director-General Datuk Anis Rizana Mohd Zainudin @ Mohd Zainuddin, and Auditor-General Datuk Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi.

Only two women currently hold secretary-general positions, namely Datuk Maziah Che Yusoff for the Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry and Datuk Seri Suriani Ahmad for the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry.

Replying to a question from a PTD officer from the Public Service Department about the approach to address weaknesses in the administrative group, Anwar said there is still room for improvement in governance among them.

"Firstly, it may take time to improve governance because there are some weaknesses from top to bottom. We need to push ahead," he said.

Anwar said that senior leadership, such as secretaries-general and directors-general, also need to send a clear message to lower-level officers to maintain good governance and practice humility in their duties.

Reflecting on the formation of his first Cabinet in December 2022 and the importance of humility, Anwar said that at that time, he asked newly appointed ministers to listen to the views of secretaries-general and senior ministry officials before offering their own opinions.

"I said that ministers should stay quiet for the first two weeks. They should not talk about policy or give opinions to the secretaries-general; they should just listen to the briefings and ask senior officers for their views.

"When we enter a new field, we need to have a humble attitude, listen and evaluate, and then only give our opinions," he said. – Bernama

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