Govt should prioritise ethnic balance across all economic sectors, says Kedah Umno

ALOR STAR: Kedah Umno information chief Datuk Shaiful Hazizy Zainol Abidin has stood firm over his opposition to the government's push for increased Chinese involvement in the civil service.

He stressed that the government should instead focus on the broader challenge of achieving ethnic balance across all economic sectors in the country, whether in government or the private sector.

"The bigger challenge is how we can eliminate ethnic discrimination. We need to eradicate the mentality that one's expertise and ability depend on skin colour.

"In conclusion, it's time for us to acknowledge the imbalance in economic opportunities, even if it's bitter to accept. As long as we can't come to terms with that reality, the problem won't be solved," he said in a statement today.

Commenting on the backlash regarding his prior comments, Shaiful was particularly disappointed with Eddie Low, a fellow Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition member, who labelled his viewpoint as both irrelevant and extreme.

He argued that if Low was a leader close to the people and truly upholds the spirit of being a Malaysian, he should not deny the country's reality and current economic ecosystem.

"There was no need for him to deny the existence of discrimination issues among ethnic groups, as well as the absence of income disparity, especially among university graduates.

"This is because, if he truly cares about the people and genuinely upholds the spirit of being Malaysian, he would surely be aware of the grievances of other ethnic groups who have to face various forms of job-related discrimination," he said.

Shaiful said while he understood the importance of ethnic representation, he questioned why the government's initiative seemingly favoured the Chinese demographic, omitting the similarly marginalised Indian community.

"So my question is, isn't encouraging only the Chinese community also an extreme action in terms of ethnicity? Why does Eddie assume that an increase in ethnic representation will make the administration smoother?"

"Isn't this statement implying that Malays are incapable of administering effectively? Isn't this also a very extreme and stereotype-based notion?" he added.

Commenting further, Shaiful said that he actually agrees that a balanced ethnic representation is essential for effective governance in Malaysia.

"The civil service positions have been available for over 65 years, but the Chinese community has never shown interest. Why suddenly encourage it now? And if we promote something they are not interested in from the start, it will cause bigger problems in the future.

"The small number of Chinese in civil service positions is not due to any government restrictions. In fact, the government's approach has always been inclusive, accepting all ethnic groups. Therefore, in this open environment, if their numbers are still low, it means they are simply not interested," he added.

On Saturday, a Chinese daily reported that the government will launch a campaign to encourage greater Chinese community participation in the public sector.

Political secretary to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Chan Ming Kai said that the campaign was conducted due to the low interest among the Chinese community in civil service roles.

In response, Shaiful criticised the initiative, but was promptly struck by criticism from Gerakan, MCA and DAP leaders.

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