KUCHING, April 21 ― Malaysia's public work force of 1.6 million is the appropriate size for the country, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa said today.
Ali said it was not true that the country's civil service was “bloated”, as reportedly suggested by Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, among others.
"That number is based on our definition of what constitute civil servants, as we have also included the armed forces, police, teachers, health service employees and those working in the local authorities," he told reporters after chairing the Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad annual general meeting here.
Ali said not all countries consider their security forces, education and health workers as civil servants like Malaysia.
Teachers alone accounted for 500,000 public service positions, he explained.
Ali later said the Public Service Department has been directed to quantify the country's public servant force without including the military and police, to allow more accurate comparisons with other nations.
Johari was previously reported saying the civil service was bloated, with 1.6 million public workers to the country's population of about 31 million, a ratio of 1:19.4.
Comparatively, this was 1:28 in Japan, 1:50 in South Korea, 1:71.4 in Singapore, 1:108 in China, and 1:110 in Indonesia, Johari noted.
The minister also pointed out that the civil service wage bill was now RM74 billion per annum, up from just RM22 billion in 2003.