An increase in the number of non-Muslims in the civil service would be an asset to the nation. It will not only reflect the racial composition in the country but would also help Umno and the government in the long run.
Umno had always been seen as a moderate Malay party in the eyes of the non-Muslims, but currently it is more perceived to be moving towards Islamic idealism to counter the religious optimism propagated by PAS. PAS has always been seen as a threat to Umno as far as the Malay votes are concerned. To play to this political gallery, Umno has embarked on many political moves just to be seen as Islamic, if not more so, than PAS.
They now have the Islam Hadhari, far-reaching Islamic programmes over the air, Islamic education, institutions and banks, all-embracing religious programmes at the government level, all to outsmart PAS.
Umno, however, has a genuine political contract with the non-Malay political parties such as the MCA, Gerakan and MIC since independence in 1957. Umno has to be seen as a moderate representation, as at the end of the day, the non-Muslim votes do play a significant role in ensuring Umno returns to power.
Of late though, the Islamic fervour has again made its presence felt among many educated Malay Muslims. Many have found their way into the civil service and into the private sector. Their sermons are now unequivocally heard in mosques and offices. Many young Islamic graduates have found jobs in schools and universities and some are trying hard to influence students to have an anti-establishment tendency.
They have also more or less hijacked the civil service much to the chagrin of the non-Muslims. When these young zealots observe what is happening elsewhere in the Islamic world today where their brethren are mercilessly trodden upon by non-Muslims, they begin to sow among the Muslims in this country the feelings of deep distrust of the 'infidels'. These stalwart followers erroneously feel that Islam and the Malays are now being threatened. They are going all out to uphold the fundamental interpretation of Islam Islamic uprightness as they call it.
Many of these Malay Muslim graduates are employed in the civil service as most of them find it either hard or impossible to work in the private sector due to a self-inflicted inadequacy. They are readily absorbed into the civil service as seeing many of these graduates unemployed would be another threat to Umno.
The question now is would a significant number of these young Turks, in the present circumstances, vote for Umno come the next general election? No matter what is provided to them on a platter, many of them would still have an anti-establishment tendency and vote for the opposition. They would pose a threat to Umno and the Barisan Nasional.
One solution to this is for Umno to increase the number of non-Muslims in the civil service. Besides making the service more competitive and pleasant for all Malaysians, it would ensure that a majority of them would vote for the incumbent. Studies of the past elections have shown that a significant number of non-Muslims in the civil service had voted for the government and this trend should continue despite the fact that many of them had been marginalised when it came to promotions.
A 60:40 ratio between Muslim and non-Muslim civil service employees would be ideal for the country and a better representation of a multi-racial country. More importantly, this would safeguard Umno from being exploited by Muslims who have the anti-establishment proclivity.