Competency or Racist?

1. One of the recent issues was many employers put the ability to converse in Mandarin as part of the condition in jobs application. And there was a study done to investigate the issue of the racial factor in getting a job in the private sector. In that survey, they created 7 faked resumes with almost the same qualifications, age, and experience. The only difference is the race and they photoshopped the same picture to look like different races. The outcome? Chinese have the highest number on call for interviews.

2. This study has created mixed reactions from the public. Many of them accused that employers are being racist (of course this might refer to the Chinese based organization). They look at the race factor as compared to the competency of the applicants.

3. Is it true? I might have a different opinion on this. And I am going to share my views from a Malay lense.

4. First of all, let’s look at the Malay based companies? Aren’t they also will prioritize hiring Malay first before any other races? In my observation, Malay based companies will hire Malay first. To me, this is a normal reaction. When we help people, we always wanted to help people who are closest to us first. We will help our family members first, our relatives, and our closest friends before we open it up to the public.

5. Secondly, it is all about perception. We have to accept the fact that people have perception. And we will always make our judgment based on our perception. We have perception towards the westerners, we have perception towards the Japanese, we have perception towards the Bangladeshis. And they too have a perception towards Malay.

6. In my experience, Malay people have been perceived as lazy. It might be hard for us to swallow, but we have to accept this is what people have been perceived us. We can disagree with it, we can shout about it, we can argue about it, but it will not change the perception of people towards us.

7. If we look at most Malays, we always wanted to wait for the aids from the Government, we demand subsidies, when we started a business we wanted some kind of assistance. We always demand special privileges for the Malays. This has created a comfort zone. Unlike Chinese, they have to compete because if they were left out there are no safety nets.

8. The only way to change this perception is we have to change. We have to be hardworking, we have to compete, get out of comfort zone and stop being only the ‘jaguh kampung.’

9. I used to apply for a job with a Chinese based company. They put a condition that Mandarin is compulsory as part of the job description. Nevertheless, I just applied since it is just a click away through Jobstreet and the job requirements aligned with my skillsets. I was accepted for an interview and looking at the requirement of the position with my background, they accepted me working with them. In that organization, there are very few Malays and I was the only Malay working throughout my department. I tried to perform my best by work hard and contributing my ideas to improve the organization. As a result, of course, I got some increment. But the best thing was my boss started to ask which University did I graduated from? Is there any other Malay like me? I recommended another friend of mine who is also a Malay and she was accepted to work in our department.

10. We have to accept the fact that people have perception. The only way to change the perception is that we have to change. Talk is cheap. We can demand for things to change, argue with them, and provide data to support but it doesn’t change the perception. We have to stop being lazy, wanting to be rich quick without equal effort, waiting for assistance. I believe if all Malays started to work hard, being competent, and deliver results we can together change this perception. And as a result, the whole world will want us to work with them.


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