This is what the Prime Minister said in his keynote address in Malta: "Quality has become a much sought-after target. If goods produced must meet a certain standard, surely services, government services, included, must achieve a certain degree of quality. ISO 9000 should not be for the factories of the private sector alone. Government administration must also vie for the coveted award. A good government administration cannot be of lower quality than its clients - largely the private sector. It must complement the private sector fully if it is going to serve the country and contribute towards its growth and well-being of the people."
There was a lot of fanfare and publicity in the 12 months after the Prime Ministerís announcement that Malaysia would be the first country in the world whose civil service would qualify for the ISO 9000 quality standard, with many Federal Ministries, State Governments and even local governments vying with each other about their plans to be the pioneer in their field.
This goal was given further official recognition when the Seventh Malaysia Plan adopted by Parliament in April 1996 committed all Ministries, departments and agencies to implement and adopt the ISO 9000 series of standards.
However, this plan for Malaysia to be the first country in the world whose civil service qualify for the ISO 9000 quality standard was suddenly swept under the carpet and the proposal had not been heard again for the past two years. Does this signify that the government has realised that it is impossible for the Malaysian civil service to achieve the necessary quality levels - let alone being the first country in the world to fulfil the ISO 9000 standards!
Malaysians are entitled to know from the Federal Government whether it had abandoned its earlier plan to make the Malaysian civil service a world leader in government administration by being the first to fulfil the ISO 9000 standards by year 2000 and the reason for this abandonment.