Friday, April 10, 2009

Ministry KPIs: Start With Accountability and Transparency

Today, I was asked by several journalists to comment on the implementation of ministry's KPIs. My initial reaction was it is not something new. It was implementation in different forms during both Mahathir and Abdullah administrations.

Mahathir introduced his concept of "Bersih, Cekap, Amanah" to drive the performance of civil service. The civil service performance indicator is even more important than ministries' KPIs. It was an established fact that a number of policies faced implementation setbacks. Hence, the right thing for Najib and Koh Tsu Koon to measure is the government's implementation mechanism.

Abdullah introduced KPIs for the GLCs. The KPIs were created by Ethos Consulting. Unfortunately, not many of us are familiar with the performance measurement because it was never made transparent and open.

Second, I am beginning to doubt Koh's ability to come out with a comprehensive, fair and competent KPIs for all the ministries. He was super efficient. In less than a day, he has spoken to six ministries and gave the rest 30 days to come out with their respective KPIs. To come out with the right set of KPIs, a minister must be fully briefed on the important processes, objectives and works of his/her ministries. The KPIs must not only be able to measure the right activities and processes but can also be used to enhance performance, correct weaknesses and eradicate mediocrity.

I hope Koh does not forget about his own KPIs. Who is going to measure the KPIs of the minister in charge of unity and performance?

Najib has made a tactical mistake. Although it is a notable action to measure the performance of his ministers, he should have appointed an independent committee to look into the efficiency and performance measurements of his administration which should include the civil sector.

Third, does the performance measurement includes all BN chief ministers too? We can no longer tolerate chief ministers who spend public fund on flimsy 'technical visits' to amusement parks, Disneyland and others. If Mohd Khir Toyo was so intelligent that he can understand how an amusement park can be developed and run by mere social visits, there is no need for KPIs. Just appoint him to become the PM.

Fourth, can Koh handle these ministers? His other portfolio - unity - runs contrary to his main portfolio on performance. How can he help to promote 'unity' if he has to step on many shoes to ensure an optimal performance from the ministers? It is clear that Koh's appointment was made hastily. His own sets of KPIs run contrary against each other. Maybe, it was his mentor, Lim Keng Yaik, who helped him get the job.

If Najib is serious about KPIs, he should start with both accountability and transparency. An accountable government should not be afraid of public scrutiny. The first thing he should do is to free up the press and allow access to both MSM and online media to all important public information. His policies and implementation process must be subjected to constant public scrutiny and test.

Afterall, Najib is the one who said that the 'government knows best' era is over. The media, NGOs, academicians, analysts and stakeholders should be allowed to discuss, debate and provide feedback freely on public policies. Hence, previous actions of protecting details of privatisation concessions e.g. tolls, IPPs and other mega projects using the secretive OSA must be stopped immediately. A credible and efficient government is a transparent government.

Najib should have realised that the performance bar is high and expectations are many. Not many organisations and individuals are as generous as Hindraf which has given Najib a 100 days truce. The reception he received at the two by-elections, Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang, has shown that he is not going to enjoy a honeymoon period.

Najid should really get serious with promises and stop his 'instant noodle' reform.


Anonymous said...

Dream on!! It's all talk only la, sound nice to the ears, but nothing will ever change in BN, not with Jibby & Dotty plus Kutty on the helm!!

Good nite!

Anonymous said...

Najib will continue to reinvent. He will continue to recycle. KPI is his rhetoric and he did it at the defence ministry but what is the result - baggage and incompetency and mediocre everywhere in all departments.
The only thing is someone is going to gain out of this KPI - satu lagi projek BN!!! another instant noodles!!!
So you will find all ministries will be busy working on KPI just to please Najib and will not focus on their core business. There will be more seminars and people will get confuse and that will be Najib smoke screen. And stop fooling the rakyat.

romerz said...

A KPI only really works if those who are required to prepare it are sincere in its preparation and those evaluating the KPIs are not bowled over by grandiose proclamations and insincere language which pleases the ears.

I know because every 6 months, I quarrel with my wife when its her KPI time. She wants me to write her KPI for her (saying that I write better English than her) and when I refuse, she would use her colleagues as examples, saying that their husbands write the KPIs for them. I have read some of her colleagues KPIs and all I can say is that the evaluator must not be doing his/her job when the KPIs contain objectives and accomplishments above their stations in the company (written from a managerial position when they are actually clerical).

So long as we have dishonest people, KPI is nothing more than a window dressing and the desire to follow western management techniques.

This is where we will fail because we still have a 3rd world mentality!

Sigh! Have to admit though that I did my wife's last 2 KPIs until the last one where she managed to persuade her MBA friend to do it for her.

I sincerely hope that KTK is not as afraid of the KPI respondents as I am of my wife.

Wishful thinking? I hope not but I'm not holding my breath after looking at I have fallen to threats!

Purple Haze said...

Why don't they get some global HR consultants to come up with the KPI like Hewitt or Mercer ? That would surely be a "reform" initiated by Najib in the process of transparency and accountability.

Surely they can do a professional and objective job instead of KTK who may be blocked from doing his task by political wayang.

Anonymous said...

It is silly and wasting time to expect reforms from the new government, because history has shown us, non of the ruling regimes in this world was really able to reform from within ,as the interest parties would resist what ever changes that are causing problem to their vested interests, therefore if the people wants to have a change, the only way is to vote them out on the next general election.

Anonymous said...

Allow me to add to the KPIs:
1.Zero tolerance for corruption
2.Punctuality and timely work. No shirkers!
4.Stop the shows and sandiwaras. No wastage of public funds and resources.

Jayenjr said...

Dear Khoo

Agreed with your assessment that it is more important to measure the civil service performance than ministerial KPIs. There are serious structural reforms that the Gov'n needs to undertake - and priority for that would be to restore public confidence in the MACC, the police and the Judiciary. And lately, with the Kugan case, that would include guardians of our Health Portfolio!

My honest evaluation at this juncture is that, this is yet another impotent gov'n that is bent on keeping as many people happy as possible - especially those with political bargaining power, and not so much address the critical structural issues plaguing Malaysia.

I have yet to hear what the new PM wants to do to improve M'sia's competetive and cutting edge; how does he intend to both attract & stop the best brains from leaving the country?

How does he intend to tackle corruption, and not just provide lip service?

What about the so-called proposed ISA review? What are his measurable plans and goals to attain that?

Of course, will he also be given a KPI by Koh Tsu Koon? And how will he be held accountable to the Rakyat?

Thus far - lip service seems to be the best service the new Cabinet is offering...

Anonymous said...

Najib must really be short of ideas.

KTK was a non-performer as CM in Penang. He has not even seen fit to account for the widely publicised land scams.

Ahmad Ismail and the Penang Umno boys treat him with total contempt and they are not alone. Many Penangites share their contempt as well.

For him to be included in the cabinet is a sick joke and an affront to the people of Penang who have already passed their judgement on him and Gerakan in the last GE.

Anonymous said...

How on earth is Tan Sri Koh going to handle KPI of other more important ministry like finance, home, defence and education. He himself is not an elected rep and a rejected one.

donplaypuks® said...

This is an eyewssh because any low rating of any civil servant, GLC CEO's and Deputy Ministers & Ministers does not mean they will be:

1. Sacked.
2. Demoted.
3. Have their salary reduced.

The whole exercise is to prevent Gerakan from ditching Barisan National and joining Barisan Rakyat.

I mean where is the real logic in making a Minister out of someone the Rakyat has clearly said is redundant. But, Malaysia Bolih; screw the Rakyat!

SL Chan said...

Honestly Khoo...

Sorry to say this,I have doubt that they will change....that idiotic motto they "glued" with .."dulu,kian dan selama-lamanya".. after 50 years of their ketuanan melayau rhetoric mindset and mentality , malaysia belong to them mentality which they possess all this years...Look at the demo at PWTC where they challenge the "cow" sprm action on the "politik wang" within their party and have the guts to say it is their right..What kind of moronic mentality is this??????This is arroganceeeeee!!!! The only thing can change them is when they become opposition in the federal level!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

All these monitoring process , brain storming , motivation plan ,
contingency plan,performance index,teamwork ,bla..bla..bla..
reminded me of my corporate days.

It can works only with sincere participants.But most of the guys
are addressing the issues FOR THE SAKE OF ADDRESSING.It's just some sort of commitment to say something when it's your turn to do so.(time to pass homework).

Still recalled on one MOTIVATION SESSION in the production lines.
Sounded positive but the production result is negative, nothing to look forward.MC is high
as usual if not more.

Finally , with just one simple implementation of MONEY INCENTIVE without any motivation or counselling session , even the MC king limped to work and the production graph escalating all the way.

Basically most of the guys are talking just for the sake of talking or commencing and it does not carry any weight and truth in it.

End of the day , it's PAY that matters to them.


Anonymous said...

KPI must be defined by the Executive team and cascaded down across the organization. It is not up to each Ministries to define their own KPI.

As such, 1st rule of KPI already broken. You can set up your own report cards and report everything to be meeting the objective.

Anonymous said...

"If you choose to critize the corrupted politician you'll definitely be send to Kamunting to eat curry rice."

Poor old Samy is gnashing,clenching, grinding his sets of false teeth to nail you in court on this piece. At some or other, u need to get your defence team ready. We all do.

Anonymous said...

One must know how to praise good job done and not to label everything done by the people you hate (or BN) as evil. Buat kerja kena kritik, tak buat pun kena. Di sebaliknya if PR do evil, you people can accept it as a benevolent act! be rational.

Azmi said...

There will be try and error on KPI setting. KPI doesn't promise us a success, but at least the performance is being measured. Hopefully the accountability won't be an issue anymore.