The issues of race and racism in Malaysia have never truly been discussed; what’s more, addressed in contemporary society.
The Centre for Governance and Political Studies ran a survey by sending resumes of 7 fictional applicants: A Chinese male and female, an Indian male and female, and a Malay male and two Malay females — one with a hijab and the other without.
The recent report by the think tank might just add salt to already chafed wounds.
Researchers wanted to see the callback rates for each of these applicants and the results showed that Chinese applicants topped all of the other applicants. Surprise, surprise.
The kicker? All the resumes had the same qualifications — including the ability to speak mandarin — except different names and photos.
They even used the same model, except with different makeup on simulate being from a different race.
The results showed that Nicola (Chinese female) managed to bag a whopping 50% of callbacks while Gabriel (Chinese male) achieved a respectable 32%.
The third and fourth highest callbacks belonged to the two Malay females — Zulaikha (non-hijab wearing) and Nur Sakinah (hijab wearing) — with callback rates of 13.2 and 9 per cent respectively, suggesting that hijab wearers face higher employment discrimination.
As for the last three spots, Kavita (Indian female) bested out Saddiq (Malay Male) with rates of 8.9 and 7.8 per cent.
Lastly, Thivakar (Indian male) scored the lowest callback rates with a measly 3.66 per cent, even with the exact same qualifications as the other candidates.
Mandarin-speaking requirement a pretext for hiring Chinese-only candidates
Employers have openly rejected non-mandarin speaking candidates in Malaysia for years but have denied accusations of racism. This study, according to the think tank, proves employers actual intentions.
Baharuddin laments that these hiring practices are bad for businesses. Hiring someone based on race rather than actual skill and potential only hurts productivity.
The researcher also expects anger and pushback from Chinese Malaysians who might argue that similar practices in the public-sector which benefit Malays exist, which he says he will investigate as well.
He also recommends policies that encourage diversity in the workplace including implementing tax cuts for companies that reach a good mix of races.
In Singapore, racial preferences are unconstitutional, but more than a quarter don’t think it’s wrong in a survey, as reported by the Straits Times.
The survey concludes that Singaporeans do exhibit a camaraderie with other races— showing solid support for multiracialism.
However, although Singaporeans are open to other races at a casual, social level, the sharp contrast in attitude lies in the preference for their own respective race in settings which are closer to home— the personal and the political.