‘Saya yang menurut perintah’ or your humble servant?

A couple of years ago I attended a lecture by Prof Khoo K K. He was expounding on the integrity of the civil servants in Malaya during the British administration especially on how the service put so much emphasis on delighting their customers. This is clearly represented by their signoff  tagline – Your Humble Servant. Here the customer is the master and the civil servant is the slave. I reckon one driving factor for the loyalty is a slave would do all that is being required by the master as the master is paying his wage. As his continuous employment depend on the master he might jolly well serve the master right.  The crucial point here, the master is the people and the slave is the civil servant.

Our current civil servant sign off tagline is “Saya yang Menurut Perintah”, which roughly means “I am Following Orders”. This tagline shifts  the sense of service from the people (as the master) to the superiors who give the orders or persons of higher authority in the line of service. Prof KKK said he was not sure how and when exactly the tagline was changed. He was alluding to the current situation where civil servants did not give much attention to their customers as the master has shifted from the customers to the bosses.They are trained only to  follow orders – just doing their jobs as per instruction. What says you?

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