There was an newspaper article the other day about the Public Service Department and their intentions to hire more non-Malays into the public sector. I also read another article where the PSD boss claimed that most non-Malay people aren't interested in working for the government.
Then there was another one stating that the PSD doesn't factor race when processing applications.
I laughed. And laughed some more.
The truth is, race DOES factor when it comes to appointments in the public sector. Everyone and his dog knows this, as evident in these two letters in The Star.
I have my own stories to tell. One of my friends was unemployed a few months back. I asked her how come she didn't apply for the various government vacancies available at the time. She said she won't bother because "only Malays get it".
Then I have other friends who come out of colleges and universities and go straight to the private sector to look for work. They didn't bother applying for government jobs either.
By the way, in the examples above those friends of mine are Iban and Bidayuh. You'd think that being classified Bumiputera might help them in this case but actually not really.
I'm not surprised by this attitude.
It's not true that "only Malays get it". Other people do get it. Sometimes. Once in a while. Occasionally. But more often than not, you know I know lah. More often than not a Malay person will get it regardless of other things like qualification and expertise.
But here's the shocker. I'm not going to blame the government or the boss of the PSD. It might not be their fault as far as implementation goes.
Remember the fuss about Little Napoleons some time ago? (For those who don't get it, a Little Napoleon is a megalomaniac government officer who enjoys exercising his powers a little too much). Here lies the problem. The government or the PM or the minister of whatever portfolio may issue whatever directives but by the time it gets down to middle management, the whole thing goes to hell.
This happens quite a bit around here. In this case, the PSD might actually mean it when they say that they want more non-Malay people to join the public service. I'm certain the instructions and the memos and other documents have been issued.
So how come no change? Well, the middle management, the head of departments, the deans, the HR people, they might have other ideas...
I used to work for the government once too. I can tell you that some heads of departments are EXTREMELY influential and VERY "flexible" when it comes to "following" Ministry directives. Some of these people are also VERY, VERY racist. Seriously. Since they are head of department, they can conjure up all kinds of official sounding reasons why so-and-so got promoted and why so-and-so got appointed to whatever position.
I know this kind of manipulation. It happened to me. In the end, they made me leave which was a good thing in the long run. I could write the whole story but it's really, really wrong. That same story is also why I personally would NEVER work for the government again, at least not until they change the working the culture.
This sort of shit happens a lot. I'm not the only non-Malay person I know who left a "cushy" government job. So how to change this? How do you investigate this kind of happenings? How do you nail a head of department who knows this Datuk and that Datuk and so on so forth?
The PSD could try to investigate if they want to but let me tell you, unless they go covert and plant spies the info they get will NOT be the correct picture.
I guess this is just a small part of the "Little Napoleon" problem with the public and civil service. It's a sickness and I don't see how anyone can change it.
Having said all this I must say that occasionally, things aren't this bad. I also have other non-Malay friends who do work for the government who are treated equally and have even gotten promoted.
It's so unfortunate that the word "ocassionally" crops up in that last paragraph...
So if the PSD really wants to do something about this please do so. There are many, many non-Malay people who are willing and able to serve and do it well. Heck, some of these people are even available right this minute what with them not being employed and all that...
The thing I'd like to see is how the PSD is going to do it..