Size of public service ideal, says deputy minister

The government is taking the privatisation approach to reduce the number of civil servants.

PUTRAJAYA: The size of the Malaysian public service is still ideal and not too big when compared with other countries, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Md Farid Md Rafik.

He said that the 1.6 million civil servants also involved the education sector, security forces and health manpower, who normally were not taken into account as public servants in other countries.

‘’If the three sectors are not taken into account, it only involves 616,718 personnel (as of May, 2018) or a ratio of 1:51,’’ he said in a statement today.

His statement follows a news portal report yesterday titled: “Soldiers only eat and sleep, never shoot, better (for them) to work in Felda plantations”, which quoted an article entitled “My proposal for the reduction and improvement of our civil service”, written by a businessman in his blog.

The businessman was expressing his views on the large size of the public service. He said this had resulted in an annual increase in government management expenditure. He also made comparisons with the ratios of public servants in countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and Britain.

According to Farid, the government took cognisance of the management expenditure, especially linked to the salaries of public servants, which went up yearly. It had taken several initiatives, including reducing the size of the public service in stages by filling 1.6 posts from the overall 1.7 existing jobs.

‘’The government also takes the privatisation policy approach whereby the administration will reduce its financial burden, boost its efficiency and work production, encourage economic growth and provide more efficient distribution of resources,’’ he said.

Farid said that the measures taken were expected to be able to save on emolument costs of up to RM1.9 billion and save RM490 million for the servicing of pensions.

On the racial imbalance for appointments to the public sector, Farid said that it must be understood that appointments into the public service must go through an application process, interview and appointment.

He said that all the processes were conducted by the Malaysian Public Service Commission (PSC) and other appointing authorities, such as the Education Services Commission (ESC), Police Commission, Malaysian Armed Forces Council, federal statutory bodies, local authorities and state Public Service Commission.

‘’All the appointment processes are based on merit and not at all based on community or race. PSC and other appointing authorities always open the opportunities to all races to apply.

‘’Based on the number of applications, the response from non-Bumiputeras is rather less encouraging when compared with the Bumiputera group,’’ he said, adding that efforts would be continued to attract the interest of non-Bumiputeras to join the public service.

Farid said that the transition of power, which occurred peacefully and orderly after the 14th general election, was due to the professionalism of the public servants and any negative perception against the public service must be reevaluated fairly and responsibly.