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Ninth Malaysia Plan must contain a blueprint to redress serious under-representation of Chinese and Indians in the Malaysian civil service – a glaring  restructuring failure of NEP

Press Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

, Friday) : The statistics given by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz in Parliament yesterday bore out my contention in my speech during the debate on the  Royal Address last Wednesday (15.3.06) that after nearly half a century of nationhood the Malaysian civil service “is increasingly regarded by many as a Malay civil service than a Malaysian civil service”.

It was one of the many causes contributing to what Professor Khoo Kay Kim, “described as one of the architects of the Rukun Negara, recently said that race relations between Malaysians are at their most fragile in nearly 40 years”.

Nazri  said as of June 2005, there were 899,250 public servants, of whom 77.04 per cent or 692,736 were Malays.  The rest were: 84,295 Chinese (9.37 per cent), 46,054 Indians (5.12 per cent), 69,828 other Bumiputeras (7.77 per cent) and 6,337 of other races (0.70 per cent).

As I said in my supplementary question to Nazri, these statistics highlight the great failure of the second prong of the New Economic Policy to restructure Malaysian society to reduce and eventually eliminate the identification of race with economic function.

As the biggest employer in the country, the government should set the lead and example in achieving this important prong of the New Economic Policy to reduce and eventually eliminate the identification of race with vocation and location, but the reverse had taken place with regard to the racial composition in the Malaysian civil service.

Before the launch of the New Economic Policy in 1971, the racial breakdown of the Malaysian civil service comprised 60.8 per cent Malay, 20.2 per cent Chinese, 17.4 per cent Indian and 1.6 per cent others.

Some 35 years after the NEP, the already under-represented Chinese percentage in the Malaysian civil service had fallen further from 20.2 per cent to 9.37 per cent, while Indians who were somewhat over-represented with 17.4 per cent before the NEP are now under-represented with 5.12 per cent.

The government must be serious in finding out why the Chinese and Indians have become so under-represented in the civil service 35 years after the New Economic Policy, with the Chinese falling by 10.8 percentage points and the Indian by 12.3 percentage points from 1971 to 2006.

It is too simplistic just to blame the non-Malays for not wanting to join the civil service  as the causes for the grave under-representation of the Chinese and Indian in the Malaysian civil service must be found in misguided recruitment polices.  This is particularly the case as there is no aversion among non-Malays to joining the public service.

Malaysians expect the government to announce a blueprint to rectify such under-representation of the Chinese and Indians in the Malaysian civil service – a glaring restructuring failure of the NEP -   in  the Ninth Malaysia Plan which will be unveiled by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Parliament on Friday.


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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