Monday, June 11, 2007

Terengganu Government uses CCTVs to monitor its civil servants

KUALA TERENGGANU: No more chit-chatting and lepaking (loitering) during office hours for the 1,000 civil servants at the state administration’s building here – every step they make is now being captured on cameras.

Several closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) have already been installed at undisclosed spots focusing on workstations of the state government departments and agencies, which occupy the building.

State Secretary Datuk Mokthar Nong told The Star that 16 units of the CCTVs installed for security purposes have been recording the workers' movements without their knowledge at Wisma Darul Iman here.

Twenty-six other units are expected to be fixed by July at the latest, covering other areas.

“The cameras at Wisma Darul Iman were initially installed to increase security but have doubled up as a mechanism to closely monitor the workers.

“We would know if they are adhering to office etiquette or playing truant and we can also gauge if they are disciplined at work,” he said.

Mokhtar stressed that the move, embarked by the state government, was not aimed at impeding the movement of the workers but to enhance the delivery system and efficiency of state departments and agencies.

Images from the units are accessible by Mokhtar and Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

It is learnt that the CCTV system was made an alternative method of monitoring some civil servants, said to be fond of taking their breaks outside their workstations.

State government officials said they had no qualms about using surveillance cameras to monitor the workers during working hours.

State Communications Unit (Ukom) deputy director Ruslan Abdul Rahman described the move as “a brilliant idea” and an innovative way to optimise information technology.

Ruslan said the state government, under Idris' leadership, had been advocating efficiency and prompt service by civil servants.

“I hope the civil servants accept the move in a positive manner as this will actually encourage them to excel further,” he said.

Abdul Mubin Ismail, Special Officer to the state Youth, Sports and Non-Governmental Organisations Committee chairman, said: “We know this is not to pinpoint our errors but to mould us into becoming more responsible. Besides, we just got our pay rise, why complain as we should be working hard?”

Abdul Mubin said the move could also motivate the workforce at the building to strive harder as their superiors would be watching them.

“Look on the bright side, there will be no more kaki bodeks (lobbyists) as the bosses will know who are actually working and those who don't,” he said.

Abdul Mubin said this would also reduce office politics or any attempt at sexual harassment at work.

Cuepacs president Omar Osman welcomed the idea as long as the move was to enhance productivity, efficiency and discipline among civil servants.

“The respective departments must also provide good facilities for the staff so that do not leave the office.”

For example, he said that there should be reading rooms and a good cafeteria.

“If the food in the cafeteria is expensive or not up to the mark, the staff will go outside to eat,” Omar said.

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