COMMENT BY YB PROF DR P.RAMASAMY, DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER II, PENANG
Non-Malays, “the last of the Mohicans” in civil service?
The MP for Seputeh (DAP) Teresa Kok raised the question of whether or not the government practised a quota system in the recruitment of civil servants for the country’s public or civil service.
The reply by the Special Functions Minister i Abdul Latiff Ahmad was merely an affirmation of what the public knows for some time.
That the country’s civil service is virtually dominated by the Malays up to 90 percent, with a small or negligible participation of non-Malays both from the peninsula and the territories of Sabah and Sarawak.
Latiff’s affirmation of Malay dominance of the civil service was nothing surprising as it is the policy of the government from the time of the introduction of the New Economic Policy to the present.
What was bewildering or ludicrous was his reply that the government did not practise any quota system.
Why was the need for a quota system when the objective was solely focussed on ensuring Malay domination in the civil service.
Discussions about quota does not make any sense at all. Quota has no meaning in the civil service recruitment process.
Only when there was need to somehow balance or apportion the recruitment then there it makes sense to talk about a quota system.
Latiff by saying that there was no quota system was somewhat ridiculous and nonsensical.
I would have expected him to provide a more detailed and nunaced analysis of the nature of recruitment in the civil service.
It is not that non-Malays are non-existent, but the composition of the workforce gives the impression that they might be last of the Mohicans in government service.
I would have expected Latiff or other ministers to inform the Parliament whether there were attempts to recruit more non-Malays, was there reluctance on their part not to join the civil service, what categories they are interested and others.
A blanket reply that merely touched on the present ethnic composition and the absence of a quota system are hardly the kind of answers that the public need to understand the nefarious nature of employment in the civil service.
Malay domination of the civil service is the primary thrust of the government policy on employment. It is one of the primary hallmarks of the government that relies on race and religion to manufacture consent and governance.
This would explain why the government ensures that the employment of non-Malays would be kept at the minimal level. A kind of tokenism for appeasement purpose.
The real question is: how long does the government going to continue such a racist and myopic policy in the country especially under changed political social, political and economic circumstances.
Prime Minister Ismail Saberi Yaacob can talk endlessly about Malaysia being one family or “Keluarga Malaysia”.
A nice propaganda slogan that is devoid of meaning and purpose that offers nothing in terms of reducing ethnic politicking in the country.
The private sector is faced with labour shortage primarily talented and skilled workers to the extent the New Economic Policy’s requirement of 30 percent quota for Malays or Bumiputras is not applicable anymore.
It is not that there is an excess of labour force, but a dire shortage of labour, both skilled and unskilled.
The civil service might operate under different rules than the private sector.
But at the end of the day, what is needed is not an over bloated civil service to satisfy racial requirements, but a well managed and efficient one.
Surely a time has come for the civil service to be rendered congruent to the system of employment in the private sector.
Under the present outmoded system of employment in the civil service, efficiency and governance are sacrificed to political expediency.
Talk of merit in recruitment in the civil service is an hollow one.
If I am mistaken, Latiff defended the recruitment in the civil service on the basis of merit.
If this was the case, is he prepared defend his position in the public to say that the vast majority of the non-Malays do not meet the criteria of merit for employment in the civil service?
And finally, I don’t expect the umbrella of trade unions in the public sector, Congress of Unions for Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) to say anything meaningful to the skewed nature of employment in the public sector.
It is too “yellow” to oppose the racist policies of the government.
Cuepacs president Adnan Mat’s denial of racism in the public service must be a joke.