During June/July, I was seconded from my company to work on things completely unrelated to IT. It was a Pemandu (Performance Management and Delivery Unit) lab on Tourism, where a bunch of private sector folk and public sector folk getting together and working together in an unprecedented manner in coming up with impactful projects to boost the Tourism Industry and making sure that "things will get done". The Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) comprises of 12 labs, and Tourism belongs to one of these NKEAs. The acronyms are a burden and unnecessary, but if you get past those EPPs, you get to see some exciting projects.
The work itself was exciting; I had a blast, not only negotiating with the civil service, but also settling (and starting) battles amongst private sector folk with conflicting interests. It was an interesting experience, and if it ever presents itself in the future, I'd recommend any of you to take it.
After the two months was up, I had a long break from work, planned early this year. Fortunately it lined up perfectly, and its the first long distance holiday Ive taken since the kiddos. Had a great time. On the last few days of the holidays though, I received an email from Pemandu requesting me to join their team. They were running extensive advertisements in the media for applicants, but they wanted things to move fast, so they needed people involved where we could join immediately and hit the ground running.
I thought about this for a long time as it was a very difficult decision. Firstly because of the job which I love and have huge attachment to, secondly, the fact that none of my technical knowledge would be directly applicable to the microcosm of tourism. However the most appealing prospect of course is working with the Pemandu team, of whom I have had several good experiences with. They were all young, having only set up only this year, very dynamic - most are from the private sector, and the public sector secondments were of a high calibre, and their CEO, DS Idris Jala is a pretty bright guy. Also working with the projects and the dedication by both private and public sector folk in coming up with mitigation plans to ensure that the projects will work is reassuring.
Of course like all the public in Malaysia, I too am sceptical on whether Pemandu can pull off any 'Transformation' in the civil service, but unlike the general public I now have the ability to directly contribute on whether it succeeds or not. Instead of yammering and griping at mamak stalls and twitter, the work I will do will have an immediate effect on economic change for the country.
How the politicians (BN and PR) react, will be interesting, but irrelevant. Just as long as the private sector are not hampered by little Napoleons, I think its good enough. I just wish that our politicians on both sides will be mature enough to see that this is an apolitical programme, and its for the common benefit for all. The projects are all private sector driven, and will pave way to make businesses operate more cohesively with the public sector in the future.
So today is my Official last day. Very exciting and very weird at the same time.