COMMENT: The government must own up that Dayaks are being marginalised and discriminated against in the recruitment and promotion of officers in the federal civil service.
A recent list of promotions believed to be that of the Sarawak Road Transport Department was telling.
In the list that went viral, eight Malay enforcement officers secured promotions from N27 to N32 grades while Dayak officers were put on the reserve list.
State Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing thinks it’s due to the ignorance of the federal recruitment officers who thought the Dayak officers lacked quality.
“We must tell those from Peninsular Malaysia that we Dayaks are as good as them, if not better, in some industries,” Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak president, was quoted as saying.
Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) president Dr Dusit Jaul believes it is due to the inherent discriminatory attitude of Malayans towards Sarawakians, especially the Dayaks.
Calling on the government to seriously look into the discrimination of Dayaks in the federal civil service seriously, Dusit cites a study done by the Malaysian Human Development Report 2013:
“In the just-released Malaysian Human Development Report 2013, it is stated clearly that discrimination exists, with Malays given priority over Dayak natives. The report, coincidentally prepared by the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office together with UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), showed that the federal government had hired Sarawak and Sabah bumiputeras at a lower rate compared to their population share."
The report further noted that this imbalance could lead to increased racial polarisation and perceived discrimination in the civil service.
Yet racial polarisation and prejudice is already in such a bad shape, what with the Chinese being labelled as “pendatang” and the Dayaks said to be stuck in a time warp and still wearing loincloths.
The fact is discrimination in the federal civil service is as big and ugly as it used to be. Putrajaya knows this, but it is not lifting a finger.
How can it not know when so many meetings had been held between interested groups – the Public Service Commission and SDGA included – and so many assurances made?
Putrajaya must have the political will to see that these assurances of a fair recruitment policy in the civil service are carried through.
In the words of Dusit: “Our request to the federal government is not beyond the boundary of reasonableness. Be fair to the Dayaks in terms of recruitment as well as career progression.
“We surely believe that there are capable Dayak officers to be appointed to senior management positions in the federal government like secretary general, director general as well as in government-linked companies.
“Sad to say, up to this day, Dayak representation in senior management positions in the federal government is not only disproportionate to their population ratio but almost negligible despite the community’s unwavering loyalty to the government.”
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