On efficiency of government services

The article on “A storm in a songkok” reminded me of a discussion with my English friend about the efficiency of government services, and whether it is really such a good idea to have a very efficient government. From the point of view of the consumers of the services, it is all very good as it saves them time, and quite often time means money, particularly for those services which are business related. However for most countries, the government is also a big employer. For a developing country like Malaysia, there are still many poor people who can barely make ends meet. Naturally people tend to look to the government for help, in the form of benefits, subsidies, employment, government projects etc. A good government will strive to bring people out of poverty, and reduce the wealth gap between the rich and the poor, as happiness of the unenlighted is often relative.Okay let us focus on wealth distribution in the form of employments provided by the government. If the government departments becomes very efficient, normally it means that less jobs will be required to provide the same services. Imagine that a lot of work can now be done using a computerised system, which is very common nowadays. So the point is there is also a good side to having a not-too-efficient government. At least for Malaysia, where there are still many poor people. So to hear that there is a possibility that the federal government might reduce funding to state governments that have fallen to the opposition coalition, which had happened before to Kelantan and Terengganu, is concerning. I know it is a cheap shot by the ruling government to try and regain these states by such means, but you can never under estimate how low these people can go. The state government may have no choice but to reduce the operational cost should this really happens, and show that states run by the opposition coalition are very efficient, but it is important that the opposition coalition make sure that they work very hard to get as much funding from the federal government first. On how we can squeeze money from the crooks I haven’t a clue. Perhaps by shouting very loud in the parliament? 🙂 And make more people aware of the importance of the funding? But whatever we think can help we should definitely try.

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