Multi-ethnic Civil Service

Now that Perak has a new government, the need for a real work to reform, specially the federal and state civil service is anticipated by all Perakians.

Generally, the civil service has lost it’s professionalism many years ago, because, it behaves more like a branch of United Malays National Organization (UMNO), than a neutral group of committed civil servants.

In a pluralistic society like ours we should, as far as possible try to ensure that work places, whether in the public or private sector, are genuinely multi-ethnic.

It is, therefore, regrettable that over the last decades, the upper and middle level of Malaysian civil service has become largely Malay in ethnic composition. Since the top management of the civil service commands a great deal of power and influence, this trend has had an adverse impact upon the formulation and implementation of public policies. It is only too apparent that communal considerations dominate civil service thinking much more than ever before. Besides, the greater emphasis upon ethnicity has resulted in a decline of professional values within the civil service. A government is courting trouble when it allows ability and integrity to be sacrificed at the altar of ethnicity.

The new government began their first day at work on Tuesday (May 22), having promised  a move of economic and financial reforms, and has vowed to fulfil some of those promises in its first 100 days. In that spirit, we the people of Perak hope that, the new government can put a stop to this ethnic trend in the civil service.

For a start, there should be a clear directive to the effect that in promotions and appointments of department heads and the like, ethnic considerations should be set aside. This would be in line with the Federal Constitution which while allowing for ethnic ratios in recruiting into JUSA (Jawatan Utama Sektor Awam) of the civil services does not stipulate ethnic requirements for promotions and appointments to positions within the civil service.

Malaysia’s coming of age as a democracy represents a change in how it’s people perceive themselves. No longer mere pawns of history, they have made history by getting rid of an unpopular government and placing the 93-year-old Tun Mahathir back in power. If Perak and the new government is going to have a bright future, then it remains to be seen in how the new government keeps its trust.

S. Sundralingam

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