: The first 100 days of service as Chief Secretary to the Government has seen Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki Ali experiencing several extraordinary episodes that have created history for the nation.
When he began heading the civil service as the 15th Chief Secretary to the Government on Jan 1 this year, Mohd Zuki, 58, undertook routine work which saw him taking steps to reorganise the civil service and its evaluation system.
However, things soon changed at the end of January when the country began to experience COVID-19 infections, thus requiring him to ensure that planning within the civil service for the containment of the coronavirus was put into place as soon as possible.
In the following month on Feb 24, he was faced with yet another challenge as head of the civil service, with the dismantling of the Pakatan Harapan government when Bersatu left the alliance.
On the same day, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned as Prime Minister, leading to the dissolution of Cabinet.
Following this, Mohd Zuki made an announcement that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had accepted Dr Mahathir's resignation and consented to appointing him as interim Prime Minister.
For the first time in the history of Malaysia, the country was being led by an interim Prime Minister without a Cabinet thus making the civil service the most important piece of machinery entrusted with ensuring the country's administration functioned smoothly.
The following day, Mohd Zuki chaired a special meeting with all secretary-generals of ministries to ensure continuity in government policies and the provision of services to the people.
The vital import of his role and functions as Chief Secretary came home to Mohd Zuki when the Agong undertook to stop the crisis by conducting personal interviews with all 222 Members of Parliament over two consecutive days. The Chief Secretary accompanied the Agong throughout this period.
The week-long national crisis finally came to an end on Feb 29 when the Agong appointed Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the 8th Prime Minister, with a swearing-in ceremony taking place at Istana Negara the next day.
On March 9, Muhyiddin who is also Bersatu President, unveiled his new Cabinet which did not feature a Deputy Prime Minister for the first time but included four senior ministers who would lead their respective clusters.
The new Prime Minister also requested Mohd Zuki to update the functions and roles of these clusters and reorganise each ministry for the purposes of preventing overlaps, while accelerating the formation of the new ministries.
In March, the Chief Secretary also had to contend with a worrying increase in COVID-19 cases in Malaysia.
On March 16, Muhyiddin announced that a Movement Control Order (MCO) aimed at breaking the chain of COVID-19 infections, would take effect from March 18 throughout the country.
The implementation of the MCO brought about another first for the country, when all government operations and private businesses were shut except for essential services.
As part of measures to deal with the pandemic, Mohd Zuki assisted the Cabinet in finding middle ground where the government could ensure the safety of the country's people while ensuring continuity in the economy.
In this connection, he also led monitoring efforts aimed at ensuring that the implementation of the Economic Stimulus Package was in line with set targets.
Given all of the above, it's no wonder that Mohd Zuki, who replaced his predecessor Tan Sri Dr Ismail Bakar, has not taken any leave during his first 100 days in office.
"Ever since he took on the post of Chief Secretary, he has given his full commitment to his tasks without counting the days or time," said an officer at the Office of the Chief Secretary to the Government.
Mohd Zuki, who has 28 years of experience in the civil service, has constantly reminded his colleagues to hold firm to the principles of neutrality and professionalism, as well as respect for the separation of powers so that the rule of law and the Federal Constitution are upheld.
The holder of a Master's degree in Business Management from Nanyang University in Singapore, Mohd Zuki served as Secretary-General of the Defence Ministry prior to his appointment as Chief Secretary. He has also served at several ministries including the Finance Ministry, Education Ministry and Home Ministry.
The top civil servant has also been stationed at Istana Negara and the Prime Minister's Department.