Putrajaya urged to prove its claim that civil servants hired on merit

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A retired senior civil servant, unconvinced by a minister’s claim of civil servants being hired on merit, has urged the government to prove its claim.

The government must provide a breakdown of the positions held by members of the civil service, said Ramon Navaratnam. “This will show that many qualified non-Malays didn’t get the job they applied for,” he told FMT.

Navaratnam, a former deputy secretary-general of the finance ministry and secretary-general of the transport ministry, said: “We need details because these figures are too general and these figures must be made public.”


He said non-Malays generally did not join the civil service as they would not be selected for high-ranking positions.

He said this in response to Cuepacs who dismissed a claim by DAP MP Teresa Kok on Thursday that the civil service is dominated by Malays.

Kok had said this after minister in the prime minister’s department Abdul Latiff Ahmad revealed that about 90% of the 1.2 million civil servants were Bumiputeras.

Latiff had also said that the hiring and promotions of civil servants were based on merit.

Tawfik Ismail, a former MP from Umno, said there was no incentive for non-Malays to join the civil service if there are no prospects for advancement.


“The reason for Malay-centricity in the service is politics of patronage practised by the government.”

He also claimed that the Islamisation in the country, which he said occurred during Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim’s time when they were the prime minister and deputy prime minister had “scared off” non-Muslims from joining the civil service.

“Look at the facts and note the sentiment on the ground.”

Meanwhile, former treasury secretary-general Sheriff Kassim said the government should announce a policy that provides equal opportunity in all branches of the civil service, irrespective of race and religion.

“This will attract more graduates from top universities and non-Malays to join the administrative, technical and professional branches,” he said. – FMT