The politico-civil service complex (corresponding to the military-industrial complex of President Eisenhower's description that referred to the web of business interests that impact governance in the United States) is the interface of interests that connect Umno's top brass with the top tier of the civil service that's supposed to run the country's administrative machinery.
Nobody pretends anymore that the latter is a professional entity, independent of ministerial-executives and loyal, in the crunch, to the state as distinct to the government of the day.
The distinction between the two estates – the elected ministerial executive branch and the professional civil service – was blurred during the Mahathir era to the debilitating detriment of both.
The rumour that circulated late last week that inspector-general of police Musa Hassan had resigned his post, which he denied in comments that were not only ambiguous but ominous in its references to the “underground”, suggest that cracks are beginning to appear in the web of interests that connects Umno's upper crust and the civil service's luminaries.
Musa was quoted as wanting to know from where the word of his resignation had originated – whether from official channels or from the “underground”.
He said he felt sorry for the country if the story of his quitting, which he denied, had emanated from the underground.
Statements of such convolution cannot be reassuring, coming from this important a figure in the country's criminal justice system.
They reflect, nay they reinforce, a widespread perception that a patina of suspicion and mistrust clings to this politico-civil service complex, blurring the lines of responsibility and accountability that should demarcate the two estates and which justify their separate existence.
Dissension and rivalry
Elsewhere in the civil service, in the Attorney-General's Chambers, word has leaked of dissension and rivalry cleaving the top tier of command, making Musa's rumoured 'resignation' another distressing strand in the miasma of suspicion that envelops the politico-civil service complex.
Citizens don't believe the mainstream media's spin on the stories of dissonance coming out of this complex so that the assumption of rumours being taken to be fact, unless expressly proven otherwise, only serve to emphasise the baseness of it all.
Don't be surprised if one of these days, the entire complex will be rent by a mutiny launched by people whose nausea at what is going on prompts them to the kind of surgical action that led Fidel Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile, army chief and defense secretary respectively in the last days of the Marcos administration, to engineer a putsch in 1986 after what was regarded as an election that was stolen by the dictator.
The episode led to the downfall of Marcos, catalyzed by the action of personnel from within the edifice of government. Corrupt orders cannot be brought down by resistance from oppositionists alone.
This is not to say that something of a military nature will happen here in Malaysia, but an 'insurgency' by the still-decent remnant of the politico-civil service complex may well expedite the day of its downfall.