A panel to improve counter services of federal and state department and agencies has been proposed so that the civil service’s front-lines are better able to answer public queries.

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib who made the proposal yesterday said he had asked the State Secretary to seriously look at the matter.

The chief minister did not give a definite time frame but voice the hop that the panerl would be in place in a year’s time.

“We need to form a panel to study this (efficiency of counter services). It’s a big problem throughout the world where a public asked for A from B channel,” he told reporters after launching the Sarawak civil service assembly at Stadium Perpaduan.

Taib said getting to the wrong channel would often result in not being able to get the desired answer.

However he said if those manning the counter services were well-prepared in terms of general knowledge, the question of getting to the wrong channel would not arise at all.

“(Therefore), we need to arm our service counters first hand with more knowledge so that they can respond to the public in a more tangible ways,” Taib said.

“If the counter people could not be expected to have answers to all questions at least they could tell what would be the correct channel,” the Sarawak chief minister added.

Taib said the panel must come up with courses for those manning government counters because most of these people were not highly educated and therefore, the knowledge they had was general.

He said the panel would also look into educating the public on where to obtain correct information from government service counters and how to use the information.

“some public ask questions without knowing where to go to. Explaining public procedures and policies often took a long time,” Taib said.

Asked if he was satisfied with the civil service in Sarawak, Taib said “there is no such things as the perfect civil service.”

*Reporting by Zora Chan (BP) and edited by Bintulu.Org