4 November 2009

Problems facing public services in Indonesia

Reform experienced by Indonesia in 1998 has led to major change nationwide. The change took place as far as governmental administration process. Bureaucracy as part of the government’s job description, was also affected by the reform. The movement towards change required bureaucracy to be more neutral, transparent, responsive, and accountable, politically. Such demand has pushed the bureaucrats to create a new frame and characteristic building in answering their responsibility to fulfill the needs of people as their constituents. In practice, Indonesian bureaucracy truly needed more experience to anticipate this massive change. For example, there were still many handicaps in providing public services. This situation opposed to the previously idealized dream, a government as a good servant for the citizens. Many elements of the current government administration were reluctant to fulfill the people needs voluntarily. Bureaucracy, which initially aimed to simplify administration process, became one the people avoided due to its complex nature. As people live in a modern nation, they need a well-constructed bureaucracy because it is more and more important to fulfill the needs of the people. Development during the 20th century had shown an escalating demand on good governed bureaucracy, which responded to both state and people living within. Therefore, a poorly managed bureaucracy might bring the nation to an end of history. Bureaucrats’ role on present days are expected to play more active, as well as responsive, roles in providing needs of the people, whom they serve. Bureaucracy as the performer of the administration and public service has a great responsibility to fulfill the needs and demands of the people in order to create stability and justice. Bureaucrats are not simply a public service provider. To limit bureaucratic functions means creating a short-term bureaucratic role, which is unable of giving desired outcome to the served ones. In order to achieve such idealism, there must be supporting facilities, for example, legal aspects that contain state administrative laws. Bureaucracy is an important aspect that links government to the people, becomes the mediator of a co-operation between state apparatus and the citizens. Such important role makes it a mediating agent that serves common interests and makes available policies of the government. To accommodate this explanation, the government of the Republic of Indonesia has promulgated Act No. 23/2006 on Citizen Administration. The promulgation of Act No. 23/2006 agrees with the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia 1945, in which article 28 (1) and article 34 (2) require the government to provide services to the citizens and to fulfill their basic needs. It is therefore public services provided by governmental apparatus have become obligation in each sector of life of the nation. However, each staff of the Indonesian government must be aware of problems, which may prevent the service performance. In general, there were three major problems found during the study observation: 1) poor human resource quality in providing services to the citizens, 2) confusion in choosing between methods available to improve service quality to the citizens, and 3) confusion in choosing between alternatives to reconstruct the current regulations, which proved unmatched with the actual situation. To overcome the above problem, the study had the following objectives. First, to describe and to explain the quality of the citizen administration provided by the governmental bureaucrats; second, to explain roles played by the governmental bureaucrats in improving service quality to he citizens; and third, to reconstruct regulations believed to help improve the service quality to the citizens. To this end, the study used a qualitative technique, in which concerned informants were collected and interviewed. Having analyzed and processed the data collected during the observation, at last the study found as follows: 1) poor service quality to the people was due to misconduct of legal principles as the most responsible parties; 2) lacking contribution from the governmental bureaucrats in providing public services; and 3) absence of governmental mutual rules that met the requirements of the Act No. 23/2006 so that the regulatory construction were poorly performed.

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