The cabinet has decided to take concrete measures to attract non-Malays to the armed forces, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon. The Cabinet decided at Friday's meeting to take steps to increase the participation of Chinese and Indians in the armed forces which is currently at an all-time low, he told reporters here.
"This is a positive move," Koh said, but did not elaborate what the measures were.
According to recent reports, 8,151 or 90% of those who joined the armed forces last year are Malays. Only 82 Indians and 26 Chinese enlisted in the armed forces last year, while the remaining 795 were from Sabah and Sarawak.
Koh said that efforts to bring more non-Malays into the armed forces should be carried out, but stressed that the limited participation of the other races should not be a subject of polemics.
"As the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) said, we should stop with the polemics. If we continue, nothing can be achieved," Koh added.
He was commenting on a statement by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the Dewan Rakyat last Saturday which some had interpreted to mean that not many non-Malays are in the armed forces due to non-patriotism.