26 September 2023

MALAYSIA: Controversy over PS racial balance

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A Malaysian Member of Parliament has urged the Government to make the Public Service more racially balanced, saying the bureaucracy has been dominated by Malays since the introduction of the New Economic Policy in 1970.

Teresa Kok said the low salary structure and lack of opportunities for career advancement were among the key factors deterring non-Malays from joining the Public Service.

“A Civil Service must truly be representative of all races as it will be more responsive in terms of their needs and wishes,” Ms Kok said.

“Civil Servants importantly affect both public policy and its implementation.”

The former Minister noted that race should not be the determining factor when promoting or hiring Public Servants.

However, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Abd Latiff Ahmad denied the Government imposed any quota on Public Service intake based on race or ethnicity.

Mr Latiff said that of the total number of Public Servants, 987,322 were Malays, 94,000 were Sabah Bumiputeras, 73,190 were Chinese, 60,031 were Sarawak Bumiputeras, 47,994 were Indians, 2,414 were Orang Asli, with 8,656 classed as ‘others’.

“All recruitment by the Public Services Commission is based on merit and competency.” Mr Latiff said.

“This is to ensure only the best and quality candidates are chosen as Civil Servants.”

The union representing Government workers hit out at Ms Kok’s claims, describing them as “baseless and inaccurate”.

President of the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (CUEPACS), Adnan Mat said race was never a factor in hiring or promoting Public Servants.

“It is baseless, and the allegations made by her are an attempt to politicise the Civil Service,” Mr Adnan said.

“During her time in the previous Government, she did not make an effort to advise the Government to raise the Civil Service profession to the level she claims it should be.”

Kuala Lumpur, 21 July 2022

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