Recently a deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department informed Parliament that there were no racial quotas for government employment. The unwritten understanding among the leaders of the three major racial groups at the time of independence was that intake into the civil service (administrative and diplomatic service) would be on a 4:1 ratio. Four Malays to one non- Malay. Intake into the other services was not specified.
But after 1969, this understanding for the intake into the civil service was applied across the board for intake into all government positions. Subsequently, the intake ratio increased from 4:1 to 8:1, to 16:1 and by the year 1985, the ratio was 40:1. That is why today we find that come the Hari Raya festive season, government operations come to a virtual stand still.
Appointment to the cabinet reflects the racial composition of this country. Why is this not practiced for the composition of the races in the civil service? Recently, I understood the Inland Revenue Department employed some 700 officers. Out of this total, non-Malays made up only seven person, and even those seven are Sabahans. I am willing, of course, to be corrected by the department.
This country has been strong and remains strong because of its multi-racial character. It is not in our interest to undermine that. The public sector must lead by example and not blame the private sector for only employing people from a certain race. If the government sets the example of being a fair employer, the private sector must follow or otherwise they will face a manpower shortage.
We must stop throwing stones at each other and get down to business soon. We are all proud to be Malaysians. All we are looking for is not equality with the Malays but some form of fair treatment for the next generation of non-Malays.