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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What's Dichotomy in Public Administration And Thus Practised In Malaysia


The conventional view of the relationship between politics and administration is that of one between ends and means. Politics, in its more specific sense, is concerned with the uses of state power or, if the world state is regarded as massive or narrow, we can substitute for it the power of all duly constituted public authorities, whether international, national or local. Many theories exist as how political will is or should be derived. However these question be answered, the conventional of administration is that it is concerned with translating into practice political decisions which are independently derived from other sources. (Peter Self, 1977)
This differentiation provided the starting point for the attempted construction of a ‘science’ of administration, concerned solely with the most efficient means for achieving any given set of political objectives. Here it is enough repeat that, at the higher levels, of administration so simplified a distinction has never at any time or in any society been very realistic. It is again conventional which many democratic producers support to draw a distinction between ‘policy and administration’. Then, the dividing-line is always an article one, drawn as a matter if institutional convenience between the broader or narrower and more general and detailed, aspect of governmental decision. (Peter Self, 1977)
An alternative have many distinction between politics and administration is in term of process. We can imagine an arch with the let arc representing the political process and the right arc the administrative process. The junction at the top represent the critical point at which political will flows into and energies the administrative influence which have been generated lower down the two curve. (Charles H. Levine, 1990)


Public Administration is concerned with the management of public programs, which interact with the residents of the community or region. Those who work in it should share a commitment to offer public service. Public administration can be defined as a management of men and materials in the accomplishment of identifiable purpose. It is the science of how a country can be ruled. It is a government central instrument for dealing with general social problem; it is also the management of resources to achieve government’s goals and objectives.

The main function of public administration is to implement government policy. The implementation of programs. With economic and social development programs, distribution of national resources can be done effectively and can be optimally. In public administration have three branches like legislative is making a law, executive was implement the law beside judicial was enforce the law. (Fazimah Hayati, 2005)


2.2.1 Woodrow Wilson

2.2.3 Dwight Waldo
 He thought it time "to straighten the paths of government, to make its business less unbusiness like, to strengthen and purify its organization, and it to crown its dutifulness".POSDCORB  By contrast, he thought the United States required greater compromise because of the diversity of public opinion and the difficulty of forming a majority opinion. Thus practical reform to the government is necessarily slow. Yet Wilson insisted that "administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics" and that "general laws which direct these things to be done are as obviously outside of and above administration." He likens administration to a machine that functions independent of the changing mood of its leaders. Such a line of demarcation is intended to focus responsibility for actions taken on the people or persons in charge. As Wilson put it, "public attention must be easily directed, in each case of good or bad administration, to just the man deserving of praise or blame. There is no danger in power, if only it be not irresponsible. If it be divided, dealt out in share to many, it is obscured..." Essentially, the items under the discretion of administration must be limited in scope, as to not block, nullify, obfuscate, or modify the implementation of governmental decree made by the executive branch.

2.2.2 L.D. White
Example in Malaysia, there was a planning of each department. For exa0�process common to all group effort, public or private, civil or military, large scale or small scale’.
Public administration is "centrally concerned with the organization of government policies and programmes as well as the behaviour of officials (usually non-elected) formally responsible for their conduct. Generally Public Administration has been used in two senses. In the wider sense it includes all the activities of the government whether falling in the sphere of legislature, executive or judicial branch of the government, in the narrow sense Public Administration is concerned with the activities of the executive branch only.

2.2.3 Dwight Waldo

POSDCORB  is an acronym widely used in the field of Management and Public Administration that reflects the classic view of administrative management. Largely drawn from the work of French industrialist Henri Fayol, it first appeared in a 1937 staff paper by Luther Gulick and Lyndall Urwick written for the Brownlow Committee. The acronym stands for steps in the administrative process:Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Coordinating, Reporting and Budgeting.

In Gulick's own words, the elements of POSDCORB are as follows:
Ø  Planning, that is working out in broad outline the things that need to be done and the methods for doing them to accomplish the purpose set for the enterprise;
Example in Malaysia, there was a planning of each department. For example, imigration department has its own planning to efficient to make a request of passport can be made within 24hours.
Ø  Organizing, that is the establishment of the formal structure of authority through which work subdivisions are arranged, defined, and co-ordinate for the defined objective;
Example in Malaysia, all the department under government has its own objectives. For example, Department of Welfare objective is to help the poor people and to increase the citizen welfare
Ø  Staffing, that is the whole personnel function of bringing in and training the staff and maintaining favorable conditions of work;
Example in Malaysia, all the staffing is involve Public Administration Commission, or SPA. Staff in government agencies has been made by the SPA. For example, the Civil Engineer position has vacancy at Department of Public Work, SPA will find a candidates and will appoint anyone who qualified with the position.

Ø  Directing, that is the continuous task of making decisions and embodying them in specific and general orders and instructions and serving as the leader of the enterprise;
Example in Malaysia,  Head of Department has their job by directing and make decision to their department. There was a general orders and instruction given to their staff to reach their objectives.
Ø  Co-ordinating, that is the all important duty of interrelating the various parts of the work;
Example in Malaysia, in Prime Minister office, there was a various sub-department that control and organized their task. For example, in Prime Minister office, there are Economic Planning Unit, Education Service Commission, Judicial and legal training Institutes and many more. All of the sub-department has their own task.
Ø  Reporting, that is keeping those to whom the executive is responsible informed as to what is going on, which thus includes keeping himself and his subordinates informed through records, research, and inspection;
Example in Malaysia, Malaysian Audit and tax department has their responsibility to check of every department agencies to make sure that all of the government agent are using government funding wisely.
Ø  Budgeting, with all that goes with budgeting in the form of planning, accounting and control. Example in Malaysia, Malaysian Budget 2012 has been proposed by Prime Minister Of Malaysia to the benefit of Malaysian citizen.


Dichotomy can be defined as “a dichotomy is any">

            For example, the colors black and white represent a classic dichotomy: either something is black, or it is white, with no room for overlap or alternatives. Dichotomies are used in a number of ways and in an assortment of fields, from philosophy to biology, and learning to think about dichotomies can be important. It is also a good idea to learn to identify a false dichotomy; a dichotomy which is not, in other words, a true dichotomy. People are always judge by the way they look, speak, move, and the color of their skin. No matter whom you are; rich, middle class or poor or are being judge. According to Elijah Anderson essay “Street Etiquette and street Wisdom” and bell hook’s essay “A Place Where the Soul Can Rest”, class, race, and sexism creates a division in the dichotomy between blacks and whites.

The word is derived from the Greek dichotomia, which means “splitting in two.” Humans have obviously been using dichotomies for centuries, as they can be valuable tools for quickly identifying things and thinking about the world, although the danger of dichotomies is that they can quickly lead to oversimplification. This issue has been a common topic of discussion in many fields for thousands of years (Sarah O’Neill, 2010).

So, in a modern government, public administrators hold the most important power. They implement or execute public policies. Public administration reflects efficiency and judicious criteria of a government. It also shows the sources of information and idea of the government in solving problems that occurs in economic, social and political aspect of the country.


The study of politics accumulates knowledge where “knowledge” is the original meaning of science. The study of political science has developed other related areas such as the political parties; political interest groups also other permanent groups. Political science is an academic field that studies and discusses about politics. Politics here refers to laws, methods, and practice of groups that responsible in making the decisions for the state.

“Politics” derived from the Greek words ‘Polis” which means “a city” (Moten and Islam, 2005). The defining characteristics of politics involved the use power in making a common decision for a group of people (Shively, 2005).
Politics is, accordingly, an art rather than a science. Politics may be found in a variety of associations and groups, whether the group be a trade union, a country or an international organization. Politics is about the efforts, both successfully and unsuccessful, by some people to gain and exercise power over others. Politics also consist of people acting politically, by organizing political interest group and trying to induce governments to act in ways that will promote their interest over those of their opponents. Within every society or among societies, politics is the process of competition and co-operation by which values gain priority (Neil Abraham, 2007).
Politics has been understood differently by different thinkers and within different traditions. Politics has been viewed as the art of government or as ‘what concerns the state’, as the conduct and management of public affairs, as the resolution of conflict through debate and compromise, and as the production, distribution and use of resources in the course of social existence. There is considerable debate about the realm of ‘the political’. Conventionally, politics has narrowly been seen as embracing institutions and actors operating in a ‘public’ sphere concerned with the collective organization of social existence. However, when politics is understood in terms of power-structured relationships, it may be seen to operate in the ‘private’ sphere as well.

A variety of approaches have been adapted to the study of politics as an academic discipline. These include political philosophy or the analysis of normative theory, an empirical tradition particularly concerned with the study of institutions and structures, attempts to introduce scientific rigor through behavioral analysis, and a variety of modern approaches including the use of rational-choice theory. The study of politics is scientific to the extent that it is possible to gain objective knowledge about the political world by distinguishing it between facts and values. This task is nevertheless hampered by the difficulty of gaining access to reliable data, by values that are implicit in political models and theories, and by biases that operate within all students of politics.

Nowadays, politics play a very important part in our lives. Without politics, people in the state will not know how to govern a state, how to protect their rights and how to perform their responsibility. Politics is knowledge that meets all the human needs such as power and living together peacefully.


Administration means coordination of men and materials within organization for the accomplishment of identifiable purpose. It represents functioning of an organization as “People running processes based on rules using tools”.

A process (aka business process) is a set of activities (operations, tasks) aimed at creating a desirable outcome. Typical examples of processes are sales (convincing a potential customer to buy one of our product/services), service delivery (e.g., fixing customer problem), purchasing (Choosing, buying and paying what we need), product development.

Some activities completed in the frame of a process belong to the category of doing something in the real world, like going to a customer site and fixing some technical problem during service delivery. Others, like getting instructions on where to go and reporting back on amount of time spent for fixing the problem, belong to administration. They are needed to ensure the processes producing desirable outcomes. For example, back reporting is needed for the finance department being able to send an invoice and ultimately get paid.
The goal of administration (more exactly administrative activities) is to ensure smooth running of the organization’s processes by coordinating people participating in the processes, and providing them with information needed for completing their assignments.
Administration deals with gathering, processing, and communicating information. Practically, everybody working for an organization participates in the administrative activities. Even those who do not hold any managerial position participate when receiving written or oral instructions and reporting back on the outcome of their work. Those who have managerial positions complete much more administrative activities, for example, they are engaged in planning of various processes, and assigning resources to various do it in the real world activities.
The administration is regulated by rules (operational instructions, or procedures) that prescribe or recommend who should be doing what and in what order in each type of the processes. Rules can exist in a written form or as a tradition. They can even be incorporated in computerized tools.
To carry out administrative activities people employ tools. Typical tools here are communication channels, e.g. mail, email, telephone, chats, and information storage means, e.g., paper folders, shelves, boxes, computer servers, information systems etc.
Administration, to paraphrase Wilson, “is a part of political life only as the methods of the counting-house are part of the life of the society, only as machinery is part of the manufactured product. Administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics. Administration question are not political question (Wilson, 1941).

(Table 1.0)
Have limited power within in various departments.
Have unlimited power because based on majority citizens choice through election.
It is the largest organization, and dominant force of the country.
Representative from particular parties have won in the election to govern the government.
To serve the public or people in the society.
Fulfill citizen interest to get support.
Office Tenure
Changes within in five years.
Take action on current issues.

Based on the table above, there is key characteristic of public administration. One of the key is power. In power cope, public administration has its own power and very limited within in various department such as Ministry Of Higher Education cannot be interfere with another ministry but they can be collaborate with each other. But in politics scope, it’s have unlimited power because based on majority citizen choice through election. The winning side that has been choose by the citizen can be implement any government policies.      

Second is structure. In public administration it is the largest organization and dominant force of the country. Such as Malaysia, public administration as a government agent that the work for the government. In political scope, representatives from particular parties have won in the election to govern the government. For example, every cabinet member that won the election has been given authorities to choose its own cabinet members. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was chosen to be a minister of education because his party has won the election.

The third key is purpose. The public administration purpose is to serve the public or people in the society. For example, they must be work on clock to run the government ministry or department in the state of federal level to give their serve to the public. Public as a consumers must be treat well and it is show that all public servant is effective. In political scope, the interest to fulfill citizen to gain support. For example, in Muar, elected representatives have to fulfill the citizen of Muar by providing infrastructure.

The forth key is office tenure. In public administration, the period is permanent. In politics scope is they can be change within 5 years term. Every 5 years there will be an general election that conduct in every level. When a ruler parties has won the election, it can be change of government policies.

The fifth key is activities. In public administration, the activities are repeaters. Such as all government body has its own objectives and its make permanent. In political scope, the activity is depending on current issue.

Accountability in public administration is unlimited and all the money and resources are come from the tax payer money. In political scope is, when a representative want to reelect again in next general election, he must use his own money to gain support by the people. For example, in Malaysia, the candidates must be given a deposit of RM10000 to the SPR.
Recruitment in public administration is by the Public Administration Council or SPA. The public servant was chosen by their qualification. All the government position is throught SPA. In political scope, all citizen of Malaysia has their right to be candidates and can be elected as parliament member in Dewan Rakyat.

            Dichotomy holds a very important role in public administration. It provides good condition in every aspect for an administrator. By this statement, it ensures the professionalism of the worker by separating his/her political ideologies and his/her responsibility as a public servant.

            Other than that, it provides more freedom. This freedom can be obtained by the administrator itself or even the public. For the worker, it allows all of them to have their own choices to believe what they want to believe. In this case, it is their political views. While the public has their freedom to voice out their opinion or seek help from the government when in need. For example, a single mom with two kids heads to the Welfare Dept to get monthly incentive. She is eligible to apply because of her situation.

            Dichotomy also can reduce the span of control of a politician. This is to ensure that politician has limited power and not doing anything he desires. Dichotomy limits a power of a politician thus creating a better, harmonious and fair administration in a government.

            It is also a medium to minimize misunderstanding between people and their government. The public may refer any governmental acts and policies through public administration as it is their job to channel information from the government straight to the citizen. Any confusion can be referred to the administration which has relation with the issues. For example, anyone who needed information regarding the new plan of “Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia” or BR1M may call the Treasury Dept.


As a conclusion, the dichotomy between politics and public administration seems to be losing its original credibility. This is because they have become inextricably intertwined with contemporary administrators and they getting more involved in policy-making process as well as the day to day play of politics. The issue of politics-administration dichotomy should therefore be treated with caution. Following on the recommendation of Dwight Waldo, politics administration dichotomy cannot be abolished and to ignored it is futile perhaps dangerous. But, we cannot say that the distinction between politics and administration is irrelevant in the modern world. To some degree, it is still very useful in helping the government to achieve its goal. Furthermore, in particular country that practice this concept thinks that it will provides more freedom, power, and authorities to administrator to execute and implement the policy without having bothered too much about the politicians. Policy and administration are largely indistinguishable. The distinction between policy and administration that determined by politicians and also administration and carried out by officials has little credibility in the contemporary world. So this means the concept of dichotomy is practicing either to combine or not between politics and public administration according to the merits that they will get.

Charles H. Levine.(1990). Public Administration: Distinction between Politics And                                  Administration. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., pg, 198.
Fazimah Hayati. (2005). Government Politics: Definition of Public Administration: Roles of                     public administration, Kuala Lumpur: Pearson Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., pg. 201 – 202.
George Okaonu Tasie (1997). Public Sector Administration and Management, United                               States: Wisdom Publications, pg. 195.
Jack Rabin, James S. Bowman. (2007). Politics and Administration Woodrow Wilson and                        American Public Administration, Boston: Wisdom Publications, pg. 256 – 257.
K. Ramanathan. (2003). Asas Sains Politik Edisi Ketiga. Kuala Lumpur: Penerbit Fajar Bakti                    Sdn. Bhd, pg. 56 – 57.
Peter Self. (1977). Administrative Theories And Politics: Relationship between politics and                      administration. United States: D.McDowell Publishers Inc., pg. 255.

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