Monday, August 15, 2016

Apples, Oranges and A Whole Fruit Orchard

On Bloomberg last week (excerpt):

Bloated Malaysia Civil Service Presents Headache for Najib

...Malaysia’s civil service employs 1.6 million people, or about 11 percent of the labor force. The jobs provide stability and security, including for ethnic Malays who are the majority of the population. Now the bloated bureaucracy presents a challenge to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib, whose ruling coalition Barisan Nasional has been in power for nearly 60 years with the help of the Malay vote, has pledged to gradually narrow a budget deficit the country has been running since the Asian financial crisis. The commodity-driven $296-billion economy is expected to grow at the slowest pace in seven years in 2016, with lower oil prices eating into revenue.

But trimming the public workforce to improve the government’s coffers is difficult. While Najib has survived a year of political turmoil over funding scandals, he needs the support of Malays to win the next election due by 2018. His party, the United Malays National Organisation, has for decades propagated policies that provide favorable access to education, jobs and housing for Malays and indigenous people, known collectively as Bumiputeras....

I’ve written about this before – the statistics on civil servic headcounts across the world are fraught with measurement errors. Malaysia’s civil service looks “bloated” because we include many categories of workers under the civil service (such as the armed forces, state and local government workers) which other countries do not. In Japan for instance, the “official” civil service is only a quarter of all government workers.

Not exactly apples to apples.


  1. Pathetic defense of a racist, bloated inefficient Malay civil service.

    1. @Vincent Ang

      I wasn't aware I was defending anything. All governments are inefficient, it's just the nature of the beast. Having interacted with government both as a citizen and at a working level, I can certainly attest to that.

      But focusing on (misleading) headcount numbers, is a misdiagnosis and distraction from the real problems.

      Having said that, I have few complaints about how public service delivery has improved over the years.

    2. it is abit bloated, it is a bit inefficient, but instead of gameblaming, why not u give suggestion on how to improve things

    3. Hey Ang... can always go back to your grandfather kampong in China.

      Still no exit tax imposed by Msian gomen yet.

      Mat Bonk

  2. Some people are just blinded by hatred.. facts dont mean much if they dont side with what they want to believe.

  3. Mr Ang, as if a chinese civil service would be better, or an indian civil service would be. Take the case of India and China, they are equally inefficient and as corrupted if not more. Singapore is an anomaly and please it is a city only. Keep race out of this and concentrate on the real issues.