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Upon completing this topic students should be able to: Elaborate on the term executive Discuss on the classification of executive Identify methods in choosing the executive Elaborate on the term public administration Explain on the principle of public administration Discuss on principle of dichotomy

2.1 Introduction
Definition It used to designate all those officers of the government whose business it is to execute, or put into effect, the laws. In wider sense, the term executive is the aggregate or totality of all the functionaries or agencies which are concerned with the execution of the will of the State as that will has been formulated and expressed in terms of law it means all government officials except those acting in legislative and judicial capacity. In narrow sense, executive refers only to the Head of Government (HoG), Head of State (HoS), his advisors/ cabinet and council of ministers. The executive not only includes HoG, but the entire staff of officials, high and low, connected with the administration of public affairs of the state.

Definition (Continued) Executive thus consists of: Political Executive: those are elected for a certain number of years as the HoS or/and HoG/council of ministers (depends on the political system). Their primary duty is to formulate, initiate policy and supervise the implementation through the framework of law and legislation proposal. Non-Political/ Permanent Executive:The civil servants such as the secretaries, police officers etc who execute the laws and orders and carry on administration in details. They run various government departments. At top, the considerably influence the policy makers and the policy implementor. Both are integral part of executive that works collectively. The executive is being in charge of the execution of the policies of the state, and determining the general rules. They are those who see that the laws are properly implemented and enforced (Moten & Islam, 2009: Kapur, 2007) 4

2.2 Classifications of the executive

Several classifications have been made to explain the types of executive such as the following: i. Real vs. Nominal Executive The distinction is between the head of the government (with his administrative/political duties) and the head of the State (with his ceremonial duties). There are different concept for Real and Nominal in Parliamentary and Presidential Syatem In the Parliamentary System There is both a nominal and real executive The nominal is the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong such as in Malaysia and Presidents such as in Singapore who is the Head of Executive in theory but not in reality The roles are separated between the Prime Minister and the Monarchs or the (appointed / elected) Presidents e.g. India 5

continued Power is vested in the office of the Prime Minister who is the leader of the majority party in legislature (i.e: Malaysia, Canada, United Kingdom) This concept was known as the prime ministerial system Strength This system secures harmony and cooperation between the executive and legislature essential for efficient administration Ministries are in constant touch with legislature & this allows the opposition party to review the governments policy. Avoid despotic government

continued Weaknesses The life of this executive post is uncertain - there could be a vote of no confidence to resign the executive thus, policy may inconsistent. Policy biasness

In the Presidential System The same person hold the ceremonial and political responsibilities The real executive power lies in the office of the president who is directly elected by the people It was known as presidential system i.e: USA President Strength Free from the control of legislature Certainty in the tenure of the presidential office lead to better political system Weaknesses Lack of cooperation between the executive and legislature (Deadlocks and conflicts between the president and congress) Possibility of dictatorship

Table 2.1:

Nominal and Real Executive


Malaysia Canada/Australia New Zealand United States of America India/Singapore Japan


Yang Di Pertuan Agong Governor General


Prime Minister Prime Minister


President Emperor

Prime Minister Prime Minister












Classifications of the executive contd

ii. Single vs Plural (collegial) Executives. A Single Executive The executive power is vested in one person, and responsibility is undivided. Occurs in a situation where a single person can, in the last resort, exercise a decisive and final authority. Absolute monarchy and dictatorship are typical examples of a single executive. President of the USA also an example of Single Executive Advantages: Secures the unity and integrity Easy and prompt decision making Disadvantages: Lead to despotism


Plural Executive The executive power is vested in a council of members not in one man Each member is roughly equal in status and none is subordinate to the other The power of the executive is divided among a number of people i.e: The executive of Switzerland is exercised by a commission of seven persons known as Bundesrat (Federal Council) which is chosed every 4 years by the Federal Assembly Occurs when there is a collective responsibilities between the Cabinet and the Civil Service The Cabinet is a policy formulating body The Civil Service (the administrative departments of government) is executing and enforcing the laws and orders Both are responsible to the Parliament, they all act under the leadership of the Prime Minister e.g. Malaysia, Switzerland


Plural executive continued Strength Plural executive is better because it may avoid autocracy and abuse of power Members in plural executive may check each other More efficient because wisdom lies in a multitude of counselors Weaknesses Plural executive lacks force, energy, unity of purpose and independence. It destroys responsibility, delays action by the necessity of consultation and established feeble (bad government) (Moten and Islam, 2009: pp 167-170; Kapur, 2007: pp575-579)




Methods in Choosing the Executive

In practice there are five different methods of choosing the head of the State namely; i. Hereditary principle Is associated with monarchical government The term of office use for life and the succession goes from father to a son/daughter (law of primogeniture) States in Malaysia still practise the hereditary principle in appointing the Sultans and Rajas. Same goes to the UK and Saudi Arabia It is as a result of historical conditions rather than the deliberate choice of the people


Strength The executive is free from party strife Provides more stability, permanence and continuity to the system Weaknesses There is no certainty that a competent person will be secured as the head of the executives the system rationalises the past.



ii. Direct popular election The top executives is directly elected by the people The people have rights to elect their Chief Executive who should represent their will and enjoy their confidence It shows the principle of popular sovereignty e.g. the election for Governors of the constituents of the USA, the local executives of the Swiss Cantons.


Advantages i. This system is democratic ii. It is a good means for imparting political education to the voters iii. This system stimulates interest in public affairs iv. It secures the responsibility of the executive directly to the people


Disadvantages i. The ordinary voters may not be able to select the right person for the position - The masses are incompetent judges for electing the best Head of the State ii. The electors can easily be influenced by the demagogues and misguided- electors can easily be influenced by the candidates approach and promise iii. This system divides the country into hostile camps. It creates political tension, political rivalry, bitterness, factious intrigue and corrupts methods employed by the party machines that lead to demoralisation iv. In certain circumstances, this system may be destructive of parliamentary democracy (Moten & Islam, 2009: pp 171; Kapur, 2007: pp579-580)

iii. Indirect election/ by electoral college Is a method where the Chief Executive is elected by an electoral college who elected by the people. In USA, theoretically the President is elected by the members of electoral college in which every state has as many representatives as it has members in both the Houses of Congress But, In the USA the scheme of indirect election of the USA has become in reality a system of direct election (further reading in Kapur, 2007: pp 581)

Advantages i. The choice of executives is left in the hand of persons who are better qualified to judge than the masses ii. Intelligent selection as the final choice rest with a small body of representatives iii. This system avoid the heats, tumults and convulsions of direct elections

Disadvantages i. Little evidence that the representatives (electoral college) used their independent judgment ii. They are merely agents of the party


iv. Election by the Legislature

It is another type of indirect election The selection was made by the members of legislature/parliament who are best qualified to exercise their judgment in public affairs e.g. the President of India (the constitution of India provide the Presidents be elected by an electoral college consisting members from the House of Parliament and the elected members of the legislatures of the state) In Switzerland, the Federal Executive Council is elected by the Federal Legislature


Advantages i. The members of legislature are likely to make better selection of candidates than the ordinary voters ii. Free from evils of popular elections ie; excitement and bitterness which accompany direct elections iii. Establishes a close relationship between the executive and legislature iv. Ensure greater harmony and cooperation between the legislative and executive departments thus, avoiding all possibilities of friction


Disadvantages i. Members of legislature who elect the top executies are not free from party politics (cronysms and nepotisms) ii. Executive appointed through this system cannot exercise independent authority as he/she is appointed along party lines iii. Legislative will interfere the executives functions iv. The executive may make him/her subservient to the will of the legislature


v. Nominated Executive This type of executive exists in dependencies of some great powers/ colonies of some great powers. i.e Colonial Era: The Governor-General of India during the British rule, and the Governor General of Korea by the Emperor of Japan and the imperial Diet Modern Era: the Governor- General of Canada and Australia by the Queen of England based on the advise/ recommendations of the respective governments. Yet, Australia and Canada still a sovereign states Executive is appointed based on his/her qualifications and special fitness for the job



Functions of the Executive

The basic function is to enforce the will of the state as expressed by the legislature, and to carry out the decisions of the courts (judicial bodies). In the modern states, the functions of the executive is complex The most fundamental functions are those which relate to the essential activities of daily administration. The essential functions are as the following: i. Internal administration ii. External administration iii. Military functions iv. Legislative functions v. Judicial functions; and vi. Other functions (Moten & Islam, 2009: pp 172-175) 30


Internal administration

To ensure law and order in society Maintain internal peace & security Formulate policies & responsible to implement those policies. In other words, the executive execute. Eg. Taxes, budget, defense



External administration

Responsible for ensuring mutual interaction among states for peace & security Responsibility lies in the Ministry of Foreign or External Affairs Eg. Sending & receiving diplomat, recognizing a new state, foreign policy,etc



Military function

To secure territorial integrity of the state & to protect the country from external aggression However, it is exercised by a department under its control Ministry of defense During emergency/war, the power of the executive increases immensely



Legislative functions

In many countries, the executive has the power to veto a bill passed by the legislature i.e. The President of USA can use suspensive veto on a bill passed by the Congress



Judicial function

The executive is required to keep eye on the administration of courts & to guarantee its citizens fairness & impartiality in justice the head of executive appoints the judges in most countries Power of granting pardon to a convicted person i.e. In Msia, YDPA has this power


Other functions

Offer services & licensing functions to the people Top executive symbol of unity The political executive head is at the center of the functional leadership in all political systems



Definition of public administration

Is the administration of governmental affairs (Fessler, J.W. & Kettl, D.F.1991, pg.8) by permanent members of the government (the body is the civil service) Most fundamentally it runs the departments and administers laws It contributes to both the shaping and execution of policies In the policy execution its task is to translate the printed laws into changed behaviour


In the policy formation its roles are played at 2 stages: i. Before the legislature legislate laws the chief executive has to make policy decisions ii. After the legislature has enacted statutes / issued orders the executive passes on to administration the job is making sense of them.


2.5.1 Functions of public administration Functions of public administration can be seen from the functions of ministries or departments. i. Answer for the administration to the people it translates policy into practice, therefore it must be capable to explain its action / decision. ii. Drawing up of its policy although policies are formulated by the Executive but the details to work out and routine businesses are left to them.

iii. To work out the detailed regulations necessary to give effect to the statutes (laws / policies) iv. To implement policies once the policies have been legislated, it is the responsibility of public staff to ensure them to be faithfully carried out. (responsibilities of top civil servants to direct, instruct, supervise & control; responsibilities of the field officers obey, implement & report as well as make suggestions if necessary)


2.5.2 Principle of Public Administration

The principle is the neutrality of public administration / civil service This idea proposes that public administration / civil service must be free from political intervention / influences. Conditions to ensure neutrality: i. Methods of appointment ii. Permanency of tenure and status iii. Promotional basis iv. Salary and compensation v. Accomplishment of duties

2.5.3 Principle of Dichotomy

It is an idea of the separation of policy (politics) from administration (policy / administration dichotomy). Began in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Stemmed from the need / efforts to reform all levels of government Popularized by W.W. Wilson through essays on: i. Law and Administration ii. Administrative and Executive Power iii. Constitution and Administration


The idea was supported by his followers (the Wilsonian) their suggestion: i.e. total separation between politics and administration . aim : to divorce politics from administration reasons : they believed that the administrative system was influenced by spoiled men. The movement was directed against political corruption, to ensure the efficiency of administration and to create a neutral civil service (non-partisan civil servants) But, it was a rejections by students / scholars (opponents) they regarded it as unsound idea (because administrative staff share in the policy-formation function.


The opponents (Neo Wilsonian) politicsadministration dichotomy is a myth. They are inseparable . Further readings: Jack Rabin & J.S. Bowman, (1984) , Politics and Administration : Woodrow Wilson and American Public Administration, Marcel Dekker Inc., New York



Executive in an Islamic Political System

In Islam, the executive branch is the nucleus of authority within a state. As designated in the Quran and Hadith, executive are the UlulAmr and Umara headed by the Amir/Khalifah (leader), who is elected from among the most respectable and most pious persons The leader is accountable to the Shura (modern term is legislature). Characteristics of Khalifah: True muslim Have enough knowledge to make his judgment Follow the rules of Allah, contained in the Quran and Sunnah Competence

Three interactive compositions of Khalifah: A man is Khalifah over himself He is a vicegerent towards other Governs under the command of Allah Duties of Khalifah: To enforce the Shariat of Allah Eradicate any type of Taghut Convey the teaching of Islam to the people Lead a strong Islamic nation economically, socially and politically