It is an essential feature of merit bureaucracy that there must exist within the institutional framework of government some method of guaranteeing that fixed standards of recruitment, promotion, and discipline are applied without discrimination to all members, or potential members, of the public services. In the Federation of Malaya, as in most Commonwealth countries, institutional machinery intended to satisfy this requirement of merit bureaucracy takes the form of public service commissions. It is the purpose of this study to trace the development of these institutions in Malaya, to outline briefly the organization, composition, and procedures of the commissions, to point out social and political factors in Malaya which affect the application of the principles underlying the institutional machinery, and to comment on the future of the service commissions in the Federation.

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