If speed is the essence in doing business, then systems and procedures, particularly those that ensure accuracy, reliability, consistency and simplicity will have to be put in place. The public service will be implementing ISO 9000 very soon. Malaysia will be the first country that will adopt ISO 9000 in its entire public service. Gearing ourselves to world class means that we will gear ourselves to implementing ISO 9000. Training of public servants should emphasise the sharpening of core competencies covering the three broad areas of conceptual, technical and interpersonal skills. However, the emphasis will vary depending on whether the officer is in the upper, middle or lower levels of management. The conceptual skills are skills related to `higher order activity' more relevant to the upper level management where the need is to see issues, recognise problems, strategise, and think systems.
The middle level management needs a balance of both the conceptual and the technical skills as they act as the interface between the top level management and the lower level of management. However, across all levels of management is the requirement for interpersonal skills. No one works alone in any organization; people will have to network and build relationships at all levels of management vertically as well as horizontally. As such, training programs in public sector training institutions particularly INTAN will have to take into consideration these aspects of skills development focussing on core competency areas. World class also means the ability to command resources and operate beyond borders. In this regard, our public service should have the ability to support our private sector to effectively operate beyond our shores. There are many ways in which this can be done.
Firstly, in business, the question of integrity and image are very critical elements. In this connection, besides facilitating the business sector through enhancing the administrative processes, the public service must see itself as the custodian of Malaysia's good image overseas, and assist in the conduct of business with good ethics, to see that our businessmen conduct dealings with reputable partners overseas; secondly, the public service has to focus on establishing connections and networking; examine investment opportunities and facilitate the entry of Malaysian products and services to new markets. The country should never be allowed to suffer from a deep crisis of faith in the public service; the people must not criticise us as a faceless bureaucracy that is unable to accurately meet personalized services; the people must not be allowed to spend their precious time finding answers to their questions, after being bounced from department to department. The new information technology appears to be the key enabler of public service transformation.