So, you want to complain about public services?

My golf partner, Mr. K* had an accident when he wanted to join me to do some golf drives at a driving range a few evenings ago. Apparently his right back tyre suddenly blew up and he couldn't control the car and hit the crash barriers. It was raining heavily too. When he filed the report at our friendly law enforcement agency, he was advised not to say anything about the tyre as he was told that will complicate investigations and sufficient for him just to mention he skidded on the road. I am not so sure whether I follow the logic of this one but whatever it is, those people receiving the reports do not seem to like having to do additional work over and beyond of what they are already doing.

One of the biggest problems facing the Brunei Public Service or indeed any public service in the world is attitude. We civil servants sometimes failed to realise that we will not be sitting where we are if it was not for the public. No matter how high ranking or low ranking we are - from the Permanent Secretary all the way down to cleaners, the nomenclature remains that we are public or civil servants. 'Servant' is the operating noun here. But at times, public servants act as if they are the high and mighty lords of the public and not as servants of the public. At the same time, it would indeed be unfair to generalise that all public servants act that way. Many have gone out of their way to help and some I know deserved to be mentioned and deserved all the promotions that you can heap his or her way. Of course in a 50,000 strong Brunei civil service, you are bound to meet more than your fair share of bad apples.

Is there any remedy? One of the least known facts in the Brunei Government is that there is actually an agency that is responsible for addressing public complaints. The Management Services Department is the agency that has been tasked to receive public complaints and to help the complainants solve their problems. If you complain to MSD, MSD will contact the Ministries or Departments concerned about your complaints and to check whether the complaints are valid or otherwise. If it is valid, MSD will help the complainants in trying to solve the problems raised. How effective is MSD? MSD has a whole unit which does nothing else but receive and overcoming all the complaints. MSD has the backing of the Prime Minister's Office and from what I gather, complaints to the highest authority also gets channelled to MSD for it to be solved. From what I can gather too, MSD has been fairly successful in getting a lot of these complaints solved. Of course, some are practically unsolvable. But generally they do their best. So do channel all your public services complaints to: The Director, Management Services Department, Bangunan Bahirah, Jalan Menteri Besar, Negara Brunei Darussalam.


Anonymous said…
An MSD personnel said once, although they are under the unmbrella of the PM's Office, other Ministries and Departments still have the right to tell MSD to literally "bug off" despite complaints about the said ministries of departments by the public.

And like any other Ministries/Department, it take months for replies or problems to be solved...

But like you say, at least MSD tried ...

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