Participation in the conduct of public affairs


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In Malaysia, there are 1.4 million civil servants in 28 schemes of service under the Public Services Department. They include the federal public service, the state public services, the joint public services, the education service, the judiciary, the legal service, the police and armed forces.4

With regard to the right to equal access to public service, The Commission has observed that while all citizens have an equal opportunity to join the civil service, it is largely dominated by the ethnic Malay group, who currently make up 50.4% of the population; a trend that has existed since British colonisation. This has in turn brought about criticisms of racial bias that the civil service is largely dominated by the Malays.

Currently, employment quotas are still generally applied to larger corporations, which require staff composition to reflect the overall ethnic composition of the country. Similar quotas also apply to the membership of boards of directors for a number of firms. According to a study undertaken by the Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS), civil service positions are subject to even more stringent quotas; a common and targeted ratio is 4 Bumiputra to 1 non-Bumiputra.5

1Federal Constitution of Malaysia, p. 24 and 25, (accessed 10 February 2014).

2 Federal Consitution of Malaysia, Article 153, p. 145, (accessed 10 February 2015).

3 Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim, ‘Malaysia’s Prime Minister must be Malay Muslim’, (accessed 15 February 2015).



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