Farewell Kak Mas
Kak Masbah's farewell cake on 17 Jan 2005 when she left the State Planning Unit
I seem to be getting a few unwanted news this year 2011. This time it is another sad news concerning my former State Planning Unit Director, YBhgg Datu Masbah Hj Ariffin or Kak Mas as she would prefer us to call her. She was a dear friend also as I got to know her before she became my Director.
Kak Mas in second row (just above YB Encik Bolhassan Di's left shoulder who is in blue) in our graduation photo in the year 2001
Kak Mas was my coursemate while we were doing our CMM-Ohio University Corporate Business Administration in 1998. So we had a lot of fun during our Masters day learning new things and also learning to work with one another. So it was not a surprise after she graduated she became the Resident of Kuching Division sometimes, then the Director of the State Planning Unit and later became the Executive Secretary to the Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri Sarawak. She was conferred with the Darjah Besar Bakti Sarawak in 2009 thus being one of the only (or maybe first) lady civil servant with the title 'Datu' at that time.
Kak Masbah (5th from left) with the Senior Officers of the state Planning Unit during her farewell on 17 January 2005
Kak Mas will always be remembered as being a Director with a lady's touch. She may have the hardest of the job in heading the State Planning Unit at that time. She did her job well and working with her was such an inspiration. We had the most difficult tasks in the State Planning Unit and when she took over as Director in 2003; I was quite new in the Unit having been transferred from the Ministry of Environment and Public Health in 2001. She guided me through the thick and thin of the demands of this Unit as we report directly to the State Secretary and also the Chief Minister and Senior Ministers at that time. Being her former classmate she knows my weaknesses and strength and I guess she managed to guide me during my most challenging time in the State Planning Unit. I was quite a 'cowboy' in the office at that time, always getting into trouble. That much I can say and I believe some of my colleagues would attest to that. She had once been requested to 'discipline' me and she did it tactfully and in her own way as being former CMBA classmates we are used to being straightforward and this did not go well with some people whom I dealt with. She looked at me, smiled and said 'What you have done is not acceptable to some people as they may not see what we see at our level in the State Planning Unit. So I need you to be more careful in handling others next time'....do you agree? I replied Yes. She smiled again, so I have disciplined you and I will report that to those who have requested for disciplinary action against you. Now go and do your job.
I think that was the best disciplinary pep talk I have ever received and I will always remember it to this day.
Farewell gifts from the office and the handing over of duty between Kak Mas and the new Director of the State Planning Unit at that time (now YB Datuk Amar Morshidi Ghani)
I will always treasure her advice. She did keep track of my progress in my career when I was still in the State Planning Unit as she would often call me to assist her with the technical glitches on her PC. While there she would always give great pointers in doing my job. She also shared with me what she saw in the State Civil Service, what she aspires it to be. She translates this by making sure the policy proposals that come to her office are screened and the contents are in the best quality so as to ensure that the Cabinet Meetings are provided with the best information to make decisions. There's so much knowledge that she has yet to share but never got to. Her total commitment to her job, wherever she is serving knows no boundaries and in her present position, she has performed what not many will be able to accomplish as she has been serving there for almost seven years. But she goes through her job without much complaint except for those who submit their proposed policy papers late and with grammatical errors. Kak Mas has set a high standard in her position and she has served as a dedicated Civil Servant till the end.
The last I met Kak Mas was at the Sarawak Civil Service Transformation Programme in May 2010 - a quick candid photo as she walked quickly past and the Deputy Resident of Kapit Encik Selamat Jati Yanjah behind.
Moments to remember in 2005: Farewell Kak Mas, I have not got the cchance to say thank you so much for everything. Those who have served with you will know that you will not stop short of giving your best. My last Farewell Kak Mas....God Bless Your Soul.