The new Customs director general, the glass ceiling and the regressive GST

New Customs director general Subromanian Tholasy - Photograph: Customs Department

When news broke that Subromaniam Tholasy had been appointed the new director general of the Royal Malaysian Customs, not a few Malaysians, especially those from minority groups, cheered.

After all, it is rare to see someone from a minority group breaking through the glass ceiling to head an institution of the civil service, which is predominantly made up of the majority ethnic group in the country. Has it dawned on the government that meritocracy has a role to play in a sea of affirmative action, many wondered.

My own late father worked in the Customs Department. Starting as an officer in the late 1950s, he rose through the ranks to eventually retire as state deputy director of sales tax. But growing up, I gathered enough to know that despite his slow but steady rise, several of his subordinates were being promoted over him and ended up as his bosses or seniors.

Full article on Aliran website.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Affirmative policy brushes off meritocracy. Some argue it helps to raise living standards of the major ethnic group but at the expense of national productivity.


Affirmative policies started during Mahathir’s tenure as Education Minister (5 September 1974 – 31 December 1977). Some Penang Free School top students (expected to get a Credit for BM) failed in BM subject (marked in racist Kelantan) in 1975 MCE exams. This caused a very uncertain future & hardship for top performing non-bumis which rendered them not able to continue to Form 6 for whom according to fairness & meritocracy would have been a Grade 1 for all of them. Fear of Kia-Su? And I had a Arab-looking friend in the last class (marked by headmaster as rowdy no-hope class)… Read more »

Muthu Ramalinga Thevar Ramasamy

The man nearing retirement age & I believe he has no power to recruit more non malays into the service. As such not so useful to the Indian community….Maybe useful to him & his immediately family… Post without power….. Helps no Indians…. But let him enjoy his fruits of labour… Good luck.


Why can’t BN appoint younger Indian man?
This man will ikut perintah to safeguard his pension. Muthu is right.


Najib is inspired after meeting Sivaji The Boss Rajinikanth, wish to create a blueprint to help Malaysian Indians in education and housing, but it is likely a nannies gimmick to get Indian votes in GE?

G Menon

There are many young Indians with high potential, but many of them are disillusioned with the quota system (like a caste system) depriving them in Malaysia, so many have gone south to seek better opportunities in Singapore. MIC never help the situation.


Muthu please give credit to Subromaniam Tholasy, even at this age.
His promotion is a true recognition to local Indians with calibre.

Siang Yee

More than one hundred foreigners died in the past two years in Malaysia’s immigration detention centers from various diseases and unknown causes, according to documents from the government–funded National Human Rights Commission reviewed by Reuters.

The toll, which has not been previously disclosed, is based on Malaysian immigration department data provided to the commission, which is known by its Malay acronym Suhakam. There were 83 deaths in 2015, and at least 35 in 2016 up to Dec. 20.


dear sir

when one opens the newspaper or internet, we have all sorts
of info re corruption, particularly, public servants;

i was in ps for more than 22years and during that period one
did not hear much corruption; except minor ones. today it is
all in billions. what they want to do with this PEOPLES MONEY.

today people on top positions – most of them corrupted, including
ministers…; we do not where we are heading; surely
there will be a blow up; god save the people of malaysia.

Ronald Ong

MACC has arrested another Tan Sri businessman for corruption. The 63-year-old suspect, a former MIC vice-president, was detained for allegedly submitting fraudulent claims of nearly RM13mil to the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID).

The claims were related to the supply of some 350 geotubes to carry out river restoration works for the DID.