KUALA LUMPUR: The Public Services Commission expects to fill some 45,000 vacancies in the civil service this year.
"There remains a critical shortage of doctors, pharmacists and dentists.
"There are 4,000 vacancies that need to be filled up," PSC chairman Tan Sri Jamaluddin Ahmad said after opening a two-day career fair here in conjunction with the PSC's golden jubilee.
Annually, he said, PSC only managed to fill between 1,500 and 1,800 vacancies with graduates from public and private universities and colleges.
"We are targeting 200 applicants in Britain and more than 300 in Russia.
"We may also go to Indonesia and Egypt where there are many Malaysian students."
Jamaluddin said since the commission adopted the open-interview system three years ago, public response had been good.
The open interview is held in Putrajaya every Tuesday,
Applicants will have to register with the PSC and they will be called for interview two weeks later.
Releasing the latest figures for the first quarter of this year, Jamaluddin said the PSC was in the midst of processing more than 15,000 applications, mainly for vacancies in the paramedical (7,000 applicants), immigration (5,000), diplomatic and service (700) sectors.
The other vacancies were mainly for enforcement officers, administrative assistants, IT officers and fire services personnel.
Since the pay rise in the civil service, 300,612 applications were received from July to December last year compared with 92,755 over the same period in 2006.
Applications from Malays increased three-fold (from 78,735 to 253,359), Chinese four-fold (from 1,347 to 5,421), Indians three-fold (1,953 to 6,113) and others, four-fold (8,720 to 35,719).
On the low number of Chinese and Indian applicants, Jamaluddin said the PSC had taken steps to address the matter, including advertising in the vernacular press, and conducting visits to Chinese schools and TAR College.
"We are also holding career fairs, visits to secondary schools and career talks at universities.
"The basic entry qualifications for many of the posts is only SPM with a credit in Bahasa Malaysia.
"We urge the public to come visit the career fair, learn more about the various jobs available and register with the commission."
The job fair is at the Mid Valley exhibition centre from 10am to 6pm.