Sunday, June 19, 2005

Of filling forms and red tape

I was reading the online press this morning and found two commons things: filling in forms and red-tape beureaucacy in our Malaysian government (not that it is a new thing):

Trainee ‘didn’t seek leave’ (from The Star)
An excerpt from it:
....Nooraini and her parents insisted that they had requested for leave from camp officials but were told that the camp needed the go-ahead from the department first.
“I had the rashes about a month after I reported for duty in March.
“When the rashes became worse, I was told that the camp had to get permission from the department and they also asked for a medical certificate.
“I was informed that I can go home on May 20, which is about a week earlier than the rest of my fellow trainees.
“The camp officials also said they would inform the department about my request. But nothing came out of it until I completed my three-month training on May 28,” she said in an interview at her home here yesterday.
Nooraini said her uncle had also called the department but later told her that it was difficult to get anyone to confirm her request.


AND

Strict Conditions For Addicts To Get Free Syringes, Condoms (from Bernama)
...First, they must come voluntarily and fill up a form in which they must state their agreement to follow the Health Ministry's programme.Then, they must go for a medical examination to see whether they suffer from diseases, such as Hepatitis C, or are HIV carriers.
....To carry out the programme, we will identify 10 centres and will work on a snowball effect, which means they must have a network -- they will bring their friends and the friends will bring theirs....

In the first story, her trainer might be probably blind not to see her rashes. If they are not blind, they must have lose their sense of touch. I mean, do they really have to grant her leave from the camp until all her skin falled off? You see some girl having rashes, you send her to seek medical attention, you help her to apply for the leave and send her home ASAP!!! Not to ask her filling in forms again (her rashes may even caused her not to be able to lift up a pen then), writing stupid letter, melalui who and who lar, signatures beside lar, must know the correct name of the head of this department and that department lar, and then for the fear of the loss of the letter in the post due to some dishonest Pos Malaysia postmen.

In the second story, do you seriously think that those drug addicts would actually turn up voluntarily to ask for free needles and condoms? Ok, if they have the courage, then how do they be sure that the authorities would not nap them on spot as these needles and condoms may be just baits. Ok, if they issue a promise not to nap them (it would be stupid for them not to do so as like burglar turning up at your house and you giving them freebies instead?), would they actually know how to fill in the forms and would they really want to be tested for HIV, Hep B and other diseases and then wait for at least a week to come back and get their results? Most of them are illiterate and some may not be able to write. Ooopss....not true also as it was reported that a high proportion of the addicts are umemployed undergraduates from the FELDA settlement. What about if they are diagnosed with those diseases? Ask them to use more condoms during sex? Will they provide free counselling and therapy for them? Start them on anti-retroviral therapy? What about the cost then? Who is going to pay for that?

You want to give freebies, you give sincerely, without any red tape and hassle. You stop the root of the problem. Would you want to fill in a form to taste a cup of 'Instantmix' coffee? All this hassle for a free needle and condom. All I smell is Terumo and Durex smiling all their way to the banks and our taxpayer's money gone to waste.

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