Government must take measures to increase the composition of non-Malays in the civil service

Press Statement
by MKuala Segaran

(Ipoh, Wednesday): DAP supports the statement made by the Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Idris Jusoh recently that the state administration intends to increase the number of non-Malays in the civil service. 

The need for a higher composition of non-Malays in the civil service is a pressing one considering that over the years, the number of non-Malay civil servants had been on the decline.


If in the past, non-Malays make up a sizable number of the civil servants found in the various government ministries, departments, agencies, police and armed forces, post offices, hospitals and schools, now one can only find a handful of non-Malay civil servants.


In fact, during the last parliamentary sitting before the general election in October, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Kamsiyah Yeop (when replying to the DAP MP for Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan) had revealed that there had been a sharp drop of non-Malay civil servants from 29.7 per cent Chinese and 9.8 Indians in 1980 to 8.2 per cent Chinese and 5.2 Indians in 2003.


The present low non-Malay ratio in the civil service is clearly a violation of the Second Outline Perspective Plan (OPP) 1990-2000 which had targeted 25.3% Chinese and 8.2% Indians in 1990 and 26.3% Chinese and 9% Indians in 2000.


This is an undesirable and unhealthy situation as our civil service should be more multi-racial – in proportion to the ratio of races in the country – to reflect our nation’s multi-racial identity.


According to the explanation given by Kamsiyah, the plunge had occurred because Chinese and Indians are not interested in government jobs. Is this the really the reason or could it be attributed to the existing unfair civil service recruitment policies?


In a letter to the editor published in The Star last month, a fresh graduate who wanted to join the police force had complained about the limited places available for non-bumiputra applicants. The existence of such quota is clearly a deterrent to non-Malays who want to pursue a career in the civil service.


It is imperative therefore that the government examine the underlying reasons and provide a convincing explanation as to why the number of non-Malays in the civil service had dropped in the last few decades and find effective ways to attract more Chinese and Indians into the civil service by providing greater incentives and benefits, including doing away with restrictive quotas.


In this regard, a special Cabinet task force should be set up to reverse the plunge of the non-Malay ratio in the civil service and ensure that the objectives stated in the Second OPP could be achieved. This should be one of the important subjects of debate of the new Parliament in May.



* MKula Segaran, DAP Acting Secretary General & MP for Ipoh Barat