On Bloomberg last week (excerpt):
...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.