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Call on Abdullah to halt the outsourcing of ‘filtering” Chinese newspapers by the Internal Security Ministry’s publication control unit to its former official - as it goes against his Ninth Malaysia Plan pledge to rectify the ethnic imbalance in the civil service
by Lim Kit Siang
I have received relevant information that the proposal to out-source this sensitive work is at the final stage at the moment. The proposal was made based on the argument that the workloads to go through Chinese newspapers is ‘too heavy’ for the unit.
This is an unacceptable reason for the outsourcing of critical and sensitive jobs in the public service. Is the government going to outsource sensitive and critical areas in the Internal Security, such as evaluation for Internal Security Act (ISA) detentions or sensitive intelligence work in the public service?
Even more serious, such outsourcing can lead to compromises in independence and impartiality so crucial in such “filtering” of Chinese press by extraneous factors such as commercialism, croynism and corrupt practices – seriously further undermining an already very fettered media in Malaysia.
But there is another important objection – it will aggravate the trend of the public service becoming an increasingly Malay instead of a Malaysian civil service.
In the recent parliamentary meeting, MPs were told that as of June 2005, there were 899,250 public servants, of whom 77.04 per cent or 692,736 were Malays. The rest were: 84,295 Chinese (9.37 per cent), 46,054 Indians (5.12 per cent), 69,828 other Bumiputeras (7.77 per cent) and 6,337 of other races (0.70 per cent).
Before the launch of the New Economic Policy in 1971, the racial breakdown of the Malaysian civil service comprised 60.8 per cent Malay, 20.2 per cent Chinese, 17.4 per cent Indian and 1.6 per cent others.
Some 35 years after the NEP, the already under-represented Chinese percentage in the Malaysian civil service had fallen further from 20.2 per cent to 9.37 per cent, while Indians who were somewhat over-represented with 17.4 per cent before the NEP are now under-represented with 5.12 per cent.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had promised when presenting the Ninth Malaysia Plan to rectify the increasing ethnic imbalance in the public service, which will be undermined by ill-considered proposals like the outsourcing of the “filtering” of Chinese newspapers by the Internal Security Ministry’s publication control unit to its former official.
The proper response to the “heavy workloads” in having to go through the Chinese newspapers is to increase the staffing of the Internal Security Ministry’s publication control unit (Chinese section), whether doubling, trebling or even quadrupling, rather than to outsource the unit.
What is the price tag for the outsourcing of the “filtering” of the Chinese newspapers by the Internal Security Ministry’s publication control unit – and why no open tender had been called?
I call on Abdullah to halt the misguided and ill-conceived proposal to outsource the “filtering” of Chinese newspapers by the Internal Security Ministry’s publication control unit to its former official - as it goes against his Ninth Malaysia Pledge to rectify the ethnic imbalances in the civil service apart from setting a most unhealthy and undesirable precedent of “outsourcing” sensitive areas vulnerable to compromise by extraneous considerations of commercialism, cronyism and corruption.
This issue will be a major issue in the next parliamentary meeting beginning on June 26 if public interests are cast aside and the outsourcing is proceeded with.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman