Last week I began to write about my cat and dog theology argument. Any ordinary reader would wonder why I link theology to animals, as if they are needed to understand God. Why not; after all he is creator, right?

Actually, that is precisely the reason why I wrote; because there are many ordinary citizens who do not know how to connect the dots in these undefined spaces of conceptual thinking and being. Thereby, they fail equally to connect with human relationships which appear more like animal behaviour and they get upset because of dog-like or cat-like behaviour.

As I have argued through my previous columns (and there are more than 400 of them), “behaviour is always animal-like in substance, and maybe even in content, if we the observers of the ‘behaviour,’ do not ask the incumbents for the real reasons behind what they do. The why question; which only humans can answer.

Premised on the above, allow me to get back to the substance of what I wrote about last week.  It was about stray dogs and cats that “misbehave” in the public and common spaces of life. This is now my Citizen Ranger Report:

On Tuesday last week at about 6am in the morning, the MBPJ Dog Unit came bright and early to respond to my complaints to an MBPJ councillor at the MBPJ HQ on Monday at 11am.

Their commitment and presence at the Taman Aman at such an early hour is very commendable and therefore I thank them for it. They however did not appear to be “as passionate as I was about catching the three dogs which I complained about”. I wonder why?

Neither did they have a plan or strategy to catch the dogs, from what I observed about their behaviour from their voluntary but intentional actions. The greatest joke to me was their “technology to catch the dogs”. It was only what I will call ‘sticks and strings gadget’. This must be 19th century technology.

The end result: after one hour of hard work, they did not catch the three dogs even though we found their home on the hill where they were kept by an illegal gardener as his watchdogs. Since I wrote this report, I was informed that one brown dog has been captured. Only two more to go. Keep it up MBPJ.

Need for a strategic approach to ordinary problems

When we were training faculty at Intan, the word ‘strategy’ was always a BIG word, and was not so easy to understand or define. But, now that I am into my fourth score of life, just past my third, maybe we are actually clearer or even smarter, and most of us have an intuitive understanding of the word. Strategy is no longer a frightening word, and it simply means being prepared for the future, in a planned and coherent way for all exigencies.

Therefore, in application to the dog catchers, all they needed was to understand the real issue or problem, plan to address all factors related to the issue or concern, and then begin to execute a plan to address the issue at hand.

Unfortunately, from my personal observation, there was no plan or strategy to catch the dogs. They rushed in like ‘naive dog catchers’ and with their limited stick and string approach to encircle the dogs.

To me, as an Intan Faculty member responsible for Administrative and Diplomatic Officer (PTD) training officers in Policy Planning and Strategy Development, the dog catchers lacked the science of dog-catching; maybe not even the art. Both were overweight to catch dogs. They truly and sincerely wasted their time, but most importantly, the tax-payers monies for about one hour of MBPJ work for four staff members; one driver and two technical catchers and one supervisor.

Therefore, allow me to now repeat what I told the supervisor of the dog-catching unit: if they cannot or did not catch the dogs by Monday this week, I will become a “self-appointed” voluntary MBPJ official and go ahead to figure out different strategies to capture the two remaining dogs. But, when we catch and deliver the two dogs to MBPJ, I would expect MBPJ to pay us the full costs of catching them, as receipted and incurred by us.

Then we will seek a meeting with the Selangor executive councillor in charge for local governance and we will request for a dialogue with him on all related issues and concerns in our corner of the world that we call Taman Aman; but, which is not any more very ‘aman’.

Of course, we will invite both YBs Tony Pua and Lau Weng San, both of whom have already met the residents and listened to all these complaints before. But, talk alone is not good enough, after GE13. They or anyone can come and join for the dialogue, but only as observers, and with no talking or explaining privileges. Change we can and change we must.

This is a meeting conducted by the Citizen Rangers Brigade, who will also call ourselves the Agong’s Brigade in the future. We will both serve Agong and country. We are truly and sincerely citizen volunteers who want to experience a truly good and enjoyable Malaysia to live in unity.

Beyond the mayors, presidents, and councils

The cat and dog problems, like many other ‘longkang-type issues,’ are never usually the priority of local councils because they have always existed from the time when my father was elected as a town councillor for the Sungai Petani Town Council in 1955.

They therefore leave it to the “elected or appointed councillors” to address and resolve the issues, but these can only advice the so-called “officials” and therefore appear to have no say in the real crux of the matter. Does this have to be so?

OHMSI, our NGO related to both thinking and acting about such issues and problems in public space is beginning a Citizen Rangers initiative.  My dog and cat problem is therefore the focus of these columns.

We will slowly work with more local councils and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission or MACC (who have agreed) and Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC), if needed, to begin our collaborative work to “rid local councils of all forms of bribery and corruption; including moral and intellectual corruption or ‘ignorance,’ wherever it is found”.

We plan to start with two pilot projects in MBPJ and MPSJ; both among the richest councils in Malaysia but excluding KL, which should be a state and no more merely a city council. That will be our focus for the next five years because we do not want to go into the next general election with all kinds of new false promises, and then find ways of cheating the ‘rakyat’ or citizen with non-delivery of the older promises already made for the last half century.

A citizen movement - ABC4Malaysians
The late Dr Syed Hussain Alatas, the foremost intellectual corruption fighter of Malaysia, once advised me against working with government or government agencies in the fight against bribery and corruption, which we now call the ABC4Malaysians Agenda. His reason was: “they come in and take over your agenda, and make it their own, just because they gave some money towards the forum”. 

Now that I have already finished about 43 years of public service involvement, and with the benefit of hindsight and personal reflection, I can say with full confidence and certainty: all governments of the world are morally corrupt, but more importantly all human organisations of the world can become morally corrupt.

This is true, whether it is local churches, or the military, or the NGOs, or civil society organizations; they are all equally corruptible because they are staffed by human beings. In my 43 years of experience of working closely with public organisations, they are all at least morally if not intellectually corrupt. Sorry, but I have found no exceptions. If you do, please do not join and corrupt them.

At least, that is what all my organisation theory studies have taught me: all organisations have what I call second-order-sin-nature, of the evil which is found in man, and since man creates all human organisations, they too carry the evil intents of man; gender aside. There are no exceptions.

May God help us engender good local governance.

KJ JOHN was in public service for 29 years. The views expressed here are his personal views and not those of any institution he is involved with. Write to him at with any feedback or views.