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Time for an Ombudsman
02/03/2004 Published in NST-PROP A Buyer Watch Article by National House Buyers Association

The post would help address grievances concerning public authorities

We must acknowledge the fact that not many nations have had the good fortune of emerging so unscathed from the shackles of colonialism to attain the degree of success we have.

Having said that, we should also pause for a moment to remember those lives are in shambles as a result of our drive to create a nation of homeowners. These are the unfortunate house buyers whose dreams of ownership have been destroyed by the greedy and deceitful.

Much remains to be done in our effort to put our house in order and in so far as the public administration aspect of the housing delivery process is concerned, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has taken the initiative to issue a wake-up call to our civil servants. He has boldly put in place what many have been preaching about all this while.

"Walk the talk," he said.

"We must work together. This is what I meant when I said, 'Work with me, not for me.' We are accountable to each other and to the people. We hold the people's trust; we must, therefore be trusted," he added.

The PM outlined five initiatives to create an efficient work culture among civil servants. He said that the current negative pubic perception of the civil service could be overcome if civil servants:

  • Initiate a positive change in mentality and attitude in striving for excellence;

  • Uphold high moral ethics;

  • Enhance human resource development to create a knowledgeable and skilled manpower;

  • Promote a performance-based work culture; and

  • Adopt a good leadership principles.

The National House Buyers Association  (HBA) hopes these initiatives will become reality and with the public's support, the PM will be successful in his endeavours.

In so far as the housing industry is concerned, we hope that an Ombudsman can be established as friend and protector of the citizens. He will be entrusted to address grievances concerning public authorities. He should also be tasked with looking at how to overhaul the entire housing delivery system, the issuance of strata titles and enforcement or lack of it in this industry.

HBA urges the Government to work towards adopting the 'build-then-sell' concept.

A quote by Mahatma Gandhi emphasises the need to to do what we can now. "You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, maybe not in your time, that there'll be any fruits. But that doesn't mean you stop doing that right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result."


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