Do Employers in Malaysia discriminate ?


July 1, 2015

Do Employers in Malaysia discriminate ?

By Lee Hwok-Aun and Muhammed Abdul Khalid (http://thebside.my/)

For a Full Report read: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13547860.2015.1055948.

Lee Hwok AunDo employers discriminate by race? The question typically elicits immediate and impassioned reactions from opposing ends.

Of course companies discriminate, some assert. It’s a known – even accepted – practice: Q companies prefer to hire Q people. It’s too hard to find suitable candidates from the Q group. The public sector practices pro-X policies, so the private sector reciprocates by favouring Y. Everyone has an anecdote to support their case.

No way, others retort. Why would profit-minded firms hire based on identity? They are only out to get the best quality person for the job. It wouldn’t make sense to prefer one race over another. If Z applicants do not get opportunities, it’s because they are less qualified. Anecdotes are supplied too.

This verbal and anecdotal dueling never ends. Both sides have valid but not decisive arguments, though positions are often exaggerated by personal bias and emotional baggage. Resolving the debate, while trying to avert combustion, requires objective empirical enquiry across a large sample of employers and employees.

Let us first specify the context. Sometimes we speak in code, but face it, the predominant images of labour market discrimination that form in our minds pit Chinese-owned private sector businesses against Malay graduates and a Malay dominated public sector against the non-Malay workforce.

How do we detect whether employers privilege one group and exclude another? We could ask them how they recruit, or ask graduates about their experience finding a job. However, their answers will very likely be biased. Racially discriminating employers will likely not reveal their true intentions, while graduates who feel they have been discriminated may overstate their grievance or may not be fully informed about the circumstances behind their rejected applications.

What about the effect of quality? If Chinese graduates are preferred in the private sector and Malays in the public sector, is it because of race, or is it academic attainment, compatibility of person with organisation, or other factors?

In a recent study, Muhammed Abdul Khalid and I tried to disentangle these gnarled issues. We conducted a field experiment that observes real decisions made by employers on persons they call for interview. Instead of asking employers whether they discriminate, we sent fictitious Malay and Chinese résumés to real job advertisements, then recorded the ones that got called back for interview and compared those with the ones that did not get called.

We ensured that the Malay and Chinese applicants in our pool were similarly qualified. We controlled for quality, in the way that experiments isolate the effect of the determinant in focus by controlling for – in other words, taking away – the effects of other determinants.

Here’s how the experiment went. We generated a pool of fictitious résumés of fresh degree graduates – credible job applicants with invented names and addresses. Résumés were clustered by quality, based on cumulative grade point average (CGPA). Those with CGPA of 3.1 -3.9 were considered “above average”, and those in the 2.2-3.0 range we classified as “below average”. Those with higher CGPA tended to be more impressive in terms of extra-curricular activities, language abilities and other positively regarded attributes.

Since we used CGPA to indicate quality, we chose not to include foreign university graduates. Foreign universities, especially in English-speaking countries, are more highly regarded; holding a foreign degree thus corresponds with being a higher quality applicant. To remove this overlap with CGPA as the quality marker, we confined our applicant pool to graduates of local universities – both public and private institutions.

Our research assistants sent four applications to entry level online job advertisements for engineering and accounting positions, one for each combination of race and quality: above average Malay, above average Chinese, below average Malay, below average Chinese. In total, we sent 3012 resumes to 753 jobs in the private sector. We attempted to apply to public sector jobs as well, but unfortunately could not proceed due to insurmountable technical hurdles

We then recorded callbacks for interview, and observed whether résumés of one race are significantly more likely to be called, after controlling for quality. Just to be clear, let me state again the basic scenario we are scrutinizing: when employers evaluate job applicants that are comparable in all aspects except for race, are they more inclined to one race over the other?

We also compiled data on the companies to which we sent job applications, and derived a profiled for each company based on the group holding a majority of directorships and shareholdings and therefore most likely to exercise control. The main categories that emerged were Chinese-controlled, foreign-controlled (including foreign-local joint ventures), and Malay-controlled, with a smattering of Indian-controlled and mixed-controlled companies (where no group clearly exerted control).

Similar experiments have been conducted and validated around the world, notably in the UK, US, India, and France. All of them find the presence of discrimination, to varying extents, based on race, ethnicity, gender, or caste.

Ours is the first study in Malaysia employing this method. And what did we find? Race matters – a lot. Chinese applicants are much more likely than Malay applicants to be called for interview. Quality also matters, but much less so.

The numbers give us a better sense of our main findings. As shown in the first line of the table, Chinese applicants on the whole registered a callback rate of 22.1 – that is, for every 100 Chinese résumés sent to job ads, 22.1 got called for interview. For every 100 Malay résumés sent, only 4.2 got called for interview. The ratio of these callback rates indicates strong preference for Chinese graduates. For every Malay applicant that gets called, 5.3 Chinese applicants get called. Discrimination was significantly larger in engineering jobs than in accounting jobs.

The gap is smaller, but still large, for higher quality résumés. An above average Chinese applicant is 4.5 times more likely to get called than an above average Malay, while the corresponding ratio for below average Chinese and below average Malays is 6.5.

These findings robustly indicate that private sector employers discriminate in favour of Chinese fresh graduate applicants and against their Malay counterparts. This is not surprising, although the magnitudes probably exceed our hunches.

Resume quality Chinese  callback rate

(per 100)

Malay callback rate

(per 100)

Chinese callback rate per Malay callback rate
Overall 22.1 4.2 5.3
Above average 23.5 5.2 4.5
Below average 20.7

Since publicizing these findings in November 2012, two broad criticisms have recurred that are worth discussing here. The first criticism denies that discrimination could occur or tries to explain it away, based on personal or company experience. However, such views overlook important aspects of our research and the extent to which we control for quality.

We have noticed that people, especially employers, refer to scenarios or experiences of filtering out Malay applicants before the interview stage because their academic records, on average, fall short. Sadly but truly, the educational achievement gap between groups remains substantial at graduation from university.

However, this study precisely addresses the issue by ensuring that equivalent numbers of Malay and Chinese applicants attain high CGPAs. Our data show that even top of the class Malays, graduating with CGPAs above 3.6 from the more reputable local universities, are considerably less likely than even below average Chinese graduates to be called for interview.

Another criticism asserts that the study merely confirmed what we “already know” and is thus worth little. True, we may have already known that discrimination existed – but only from personal observation, experience, hearsay, or presumption. Now we have empirical proof, from sample of over 3000 job applications and 750 companies.

More importantly, though, let us not be too convinced and comfortable that we already know all there is to know on the matter. Indeed, we found out much more than we thought we knew. Within the Chinese and Malay applicant pools, personal characteristics besides race impact on the prospects for interview.

Take Chinese proficiency, which is often divisive in discourses on graduate employment. Actually, it should be a more unifying issue. Our study finds that Malays who declare proficiency in Chinese language are more likely to be called for interview than Malays who do not. Chinese proficiency is also an advantage for Chinese applicants, of course.

We also found that type of university or tertiary institution makes a difference, but not entirely in line with common perceptions of “unemployable” public university graduates. Malays holding degrees from Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia – the major and more established public universities – enjoy better than average prospects for getting an interview.

The outlook for University Teknologi MARA (UiTM) graduates varies across job type. In engineering jobs, they are evaluated on par with peers from major public universities, but UiTM accounting graduates are viewed less favourably. On the whole, it is Malay graduates of private institutions who face the slimmest chances of getting called for interview.

Of course, this study would not be quite complete without examining if a hiring company’s profile affects job applicant’s chances. Well, it does, but it is not a simple, caricatured story of Chinese companies obstructing Malay entry. For accounting positions, Malays applying to Chinese-controlled companies are less likely to be called back, compared to Malays seeking work in Malay-controlled or foreign-controlled companies.

For engineering jobs, our results are most interesting. A foreign-controlled company is least likely to call a Malay applicant. However, a Malay engineering graduate has a better chance of getting an interview in a Chinese-controlled firm than a Malay-controlled firm.

We trust and hope our work has shed cool light on a heated and nationally vital subject. Undeniably, this study has limitations.

This research just examines discrimination in selection for interview, not the job offer stage, let alone employment and promotion, which impact further on our economy and society. Investigating discrimination at those levels is exceedingly more controversial and difficult, if not impossible, since it will involve research assistants posing in person as job candidates.

Nonetheless, our findings have broader implications. Our evidence of discrimination means that qualified Malay applicants are potentially being overlooked and excluded from job opportunities. Also, if discrimination occurs at this stage, it probably occurs at later stages as well – although the magnitude is likely to be less than what we observe in this study. Employers are more likely to discriminate at this early job application stage, because there is much less information about job applicants than employed personnel, and the process is impersonal and removed from scrutiny.

More importantly, though perhaps frustratingly for some readers, this research does not directly address the burning question: why do employers discriminate? We too would dearly like to know, but our chief objective was to probe and measure discrimination, and that’s made for a big enough project.

Before generalizing anecdotes or pondering why discrimination occurs, we ought to investigate its form and prevalence, and this field experiment has produced a careful, methodical and objective gauge of this phenomenon.

While we have not produced data to empirically inform why employers discriminate, we have highlighted the complexities of the problem and the need for further investigation.

Our findings demonstrate that factors not revealed in résumés have a major bearing on graduates’ selection for interview – whether related to attitude, compatibility of applicant with company, past hiring experience, or other factors and combinations of factors. Perhaps some employers expect Malay applicants to not socially fit into the company and hence do not bother calling them for interview. Perhaps they feel a need and justification for private sector to counterweigh the pro-Malay policies public sector. We cannot confidently evaluate these arguments without further study. Emphatically, we must not be hasty to blame the discrimination we detect on malevolent motives and racial stereotyping, prejudice or bigotry.

Clearly, there’s more work to be done in this thorny, fertile field. We hope that the cause will be taken up by the academic community, private organizations, governments,… indeed, all of society. These are shared problems demanding shared solutions.

*Dr Lee Hwok Aun is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Development Studies, Universiti Malaya. Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid is now Research Fellow at Malaysian Institute of Economic Research 

44 thoughts on “Do Employers in Malaysia discriminate ?

  1. Most likely, more of the non-Malays have a better command of English. Language and communication skills are more essential than a degree.

  2. ” Do Malaysian employers discriminate? ”

    Of course they do . Everybody knows that this is public policy in Malaysia and the Government , as the biggest employer , does so very blatantly.

  3. Could it also be that a high Malay CGPA is seen as still not equal to a Chinese CGPA? That there is suspicion that some bias is also inherent in the grading that is done, more lenient for some than for others, leading to the lower interview call-rate for the former?

  4. Racism (institutional racism, through semi-apartheid policies in the public sector) breeds more racism (in the private sector).

    A kind of twisted Marxian-Hegelian dialectics in the very
    diseased 1Malaysia body politic.

  5. OF COURSE EMPLOYERS DISCRIMINATE. The surprse would be if they did not at all..WE HAVE A NATIONAL DISCRIMINATION POLICY… The currrent version of NEP is NOT Affirmative Action. It is a DISCRIMINATION POLICY..If businesses are discriminated, schools are discriminated, religion is discriminated, even social groups and societies, people are going to be highly defensive even if its unintentional..

    Affirmative is suppose to be something positive, creative without destroying or denying someone else what is already theirs.. Traditionally it meant giving handicaps and setting targets – NOT quotas and whole entitlements. When groups like Perkasa says that the bumi equity should be 60% not counting govt stake, when foreign ownership of equity is at least 30%, its PERSECUTION..

    Why would there not be bunker mentalities across each racial groups unintentionally. When the govt has a national policy to discriminate, why should anyone else, much less employers care to go out their way to be otherwise at the expense of profit and convenience?

    It may have started NEP more affirmative then discrimination but at the current state, its clearly a discrimination policy..Its NOT A PERSECUTION POLICY – at least not yet..

  6. Thank you Dr Lee Hwok Aun.

    Your quote here “On the whole, it is Malay graduates of private institutions who face the slimmest chances of getting called for interview.” tell me about my life since 2001.

    Not my loss though. Pray that I would win next year green card lottery. I guess in the end of the day, just go where you intelligence will be appreciated.

  7. Racism cuts both ways.Most Chinese get upset with Government policies which they view as racist but at the same time they themselves are practicing racism when dealing with other races as shown in this study.To abolish racism we must get rid of that demon from within ourselves first.

  8. UKM made the survey 2 yrs back. Just imagine the outcome of this private sectors !

    For you people here, all gomen fault, all Umno’s fault, all Malays’ fault an all Islam’s fault ! You all are the geniusesgenii, won’t it be waste to stay in Malaysia ? Use your brains in the first world and you will be rewarded very handsomely, don’t yiu think so ?

    Leave tbe STUPID MALAYS alone in this country. In fact, this isTanah Melayu. The history had revealed all the facts that had bean “sealed” for hundreds of years, denying Malays and their big kingdom and their success ! Mendam Berahi and lots of it, just to indicate the differences !

    Let see what geniusesgenii say..

  9. Yes they do discriminate and the researchers still do not know empirically why the employers discriminate. Now let us just hope for the want of a elusive ‘why”, they don’t waste further time dumping a bunch of fake CVs on companies that are currently hard pressed for time and results in a business cycle shaken by poor investor and consumer confidence .

  10. “..get rid of that demon from within ourselves first.” abdul jalil.

    Absolutely. Stereotyping unfortunately, is ingrained due to maae’s gomen policy. Has been and will be. And i know how shabbily ‘Nons’ are looked upon, in the civil service nowadays.

    My staff is 70% Malay, and come Hari Raya they will take at least a one week vacation – regardless of whether the business is running or not. They do the same during CNY, even though we don’t have prolonged holidays.

  11. I certainly don’t understand this summary. If it is about Chinese employers in Tanah Melayu, then the description fits. But if it covers the PRIVATE sector of Malaysia, I’m afraid it is not the case. Ji can’t imagine a GLC discriminating Malay graduates like this. Btw the Malays form the majority here and they are the workforce. I see shops everywhere employing malays. How can the nation function if they are discriminated like what this report claims. Can anyone help?

  12. CL,I noticed the same thing with my Chinese staff and worst with my Chinese subcontractors who took 2weeks off for CNY.All workers are the same after all.

  13. Well I guess Indians are excluded yet again from the discourse which says a lot about discrimination. It’s no point blaming UMNO for any discrimination in the private sector, although I have noticed in these discussions not only is public sector discrimination brought up as some kind of excuse but also the idea that UMNO taught Malaysians racism.

    People should never forget that the UMNO establishment , together with the MCA plutocrats and whatever the hell MIC is were voted in which was in fact an endorsement of UMNO policies because nobody really gave a shit about any kind of egalitarian principles or what it meant to be Malaysian as opposed to whatever box you ticked on government forms.

    We get the world we deserve.

  14. This is what I know.

    A classmate of my who lectured in MU back in the late 70s when MU was still a top Asian Uni, was called up by the Dean to explain why low marks were given to Malay students. This was back in the 70s. Now?

    Some years back a newly appointed Malay Chairman in his mid 50s, (after successfully helming some government-linked companies), of a very very large government agency with branches in every town in the country, (perhaps you can guess which?), was told point-blank to employ only Malay graduates. He said no problem, and promptly instructed his personnel department to employ only Malay graduates from foreign Unis. He, as expected, did not stay long there. He BTW was not a politician.

    My boss employed some Malays, mostly secretarial / clerical, over some Chinese applicants thinking that he was doing his small bit for his fellow Malaysians Malays. He had such bad experiences that, sadly, he told me, no more. My job requirements did not have much direct contact with them.

    Don’t get me wrong. There are lousy and superlative workers in every race on Earth. But it’s the general impressions gained from individual cases or experiences that over time build up such rightly or wrongly held perceptions that regardless of paper qualifications and all things being equal, a Malaysian Chinese worker works better, harder, longer hours and take less leave entitlements. A colleague of my had so much accumulated leave that if he were to take it all, he could go on leave for 6 months, and he works 7 days a week, voluntarily, in spite of the fact that he gets no overtime for weekend work. Which employer wouldn’t like and keep a worker like that, which accounts for him being on the job for 40 years! Though from a poor family background, he now owns houses, have married children and a secured retirement, that is if he wants to retire at all. My best bet is he’ll just drop dead on the job one day, forfeiting all his accumulated leave.

    Another rightly or wrongly held perception is that if you are a Chinese or Indian worker in the private sector and you are sacked or retrenched, your chances of getting a fall-back job in the public sector is almost nil. So you better perform my man.

  15. What began as a sincere policy to give a leg-up to a lesser advantaged segment of the community has unfortunately morphed into a nightmare with negative reciprocity being the order of the day. Is this sustainable? On paper it looks worrying, but then again our economic history has always been colored by this segmentation and as long as there is employment for everyone, everybody is happy enough to be employed in their individual comfort zone. The problem starts when the economic pie shrinks and the blame game begins. I have met many Malays who would rather go unemployed for years waiting for openings in the public sector. The attraction being of course, the pension scheme, use of BM and of course, familiarity of surroundings. So these guys are certainly not complaining if they are not employed by Chinese or Foreign businesses. I have also met some Malays who have worked with non-Malay organizations, as I am sure many of you have as well, and when they later worked in Malay controlled organizations, the common thread of discussion can be summarized in one statement: ” rasa lemaslah”. Now I leave it to you to decipher that.

    Having said that, is continued segregation good for integration. certainly a contradiction in terms. So we can create all the slogans we want but we have to walk the talk.

    I have always cherished the idea of a fully integrated workforce, simply because there is where 2+2 can become 5 and not just 4. Cross-fertilization of ideas, work habits and culture are the test beds for the growth of new ideas and innovation. if you don’t believe me, try marrying off your children to their first cousins and see what you get.

    For those of us who are old enough to remember, do you remember the quality of the civil service in the 60’s and 70’s.

    Maae, you better be careful what you wish for. You obviously have no idea how the economy functions, for which I am not going to waste my time elucidating you. And since you take great pains to project yourself as a good Muslim, you may want to keep in mind Allah’s promise, i.e. whenever any race or tribe fail to perform on all counts, He will replace them with another race or tribe. So no race or tribe can lay claim on any piece of God’s property except by his right conduct, all encompassing.

  16. Yalah Din. we should be like singapore with no ‘official’ race based policies, and hence no racism right? This will not cause discrimination in job hiring right? Maybe we should think again. Below is a link on a story about a Muslim Chinese girl getting rejected for an admin job even though she speaks chinese. The excuse given was that she doesn’t eat pork, therefore it would be problematic for all of the staff to go out for lunch together

    https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singapore-chinese-muslim-stunned-by-halal-dietary-question-in-job-application-050755708.html?linkId=15247978

    Affirmative action is needed to reduce social inequalities. I believe it is a hardly a reaction to government policies that the Chinese held corporates refuse to hire Malays. The answer is simply racism, since even better qualified Chinese speaking Malays do not get called up as frequently as their Chinese counterparts. And this racism will not end even if government removes the affirmative actions policies, as this case in SIngapore proves.

    Your frequent commentators always try to deny that there exists racism by the non-Malays towards the Malays. When proof based on fact is presented they cringe and snarl and show unwarranted incredulity. When Malays get discriminated against, they cry “Not True!” Just shows how equality and fairness loving they actually are.They maybe equally as bad as UMNO or PERKASA which they love to denounce. All they do is cry for abolishment of affirmative action when that will exacerbate the problem further. They’re not very smart even though they speak English and can quote a few lines from philosophers here and there, but don’t let that fool you.

  17. Aaaargh……..slaying demon.

    Start by abolishing Islam as state religion. Repealing Article 153 (Useless anyway) and Have a dual national language policy just like the one in Canada. Oh come on, the state language in sarawak is english anyway.

    By the way, bring back the original anthem for sarawak state anthem. And stop Islamisation programme in Sabah

    https://books.google.com.my/books?id=DMCjBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA73&lpg=PA73&dq=Islamisation+of+sabah+tun+mustapha&source=bl&ots=WnuihpAPA6&sig=kloS_KkoVeP_QN8T7M3y37dQIHA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=AR-UVbznLoq1uASuhoCIAg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Islamisation%20of%20sabah%20tun%20mustapha&f=false

  18. CLF for a social reason, The Malays must protect their interests and their being. Singaoore had done that to boost the chinese, but not the Malays, right. Be honest lah CLF. Pura2 tak nampak ?

    C’mon CLF, you have 70% Malay staff and youre talking about public service. Do chinese, before, interested in gomen job ? The pay was very low, especially in the uniforms dept. Don’t chinese prefer high pay ? Gomen job only kacang putih and no need to die for it lah, that what the chinese said !

    Now gomen give good pay and a lot benefits. So suddenly, all the chinese are interested. And thousand of Malays’ graduates being neglected either in civil or private sectors. The GLCs/ GLIs are considered as non perform entities that belongs to the selected few with “highly pay everything provided” – just look at Petronas – once controlled by a chinese root – what happened ? Ask Mustafa Ong. In fact ‘he’ denied Tun M, get rid of the senior Malays, and filled those important positions among his chinese friends ( this tragedy when Najib announced the new management of Petronas few years back.- please ‘korek’ back ) and the Malay vendors ? One night change, eh ?

    Have you seen a lot of Malays proffesional holding important posts in chinese companies ? Have you checked the difference margin (pay ) received by the chinese and the Malays ? Eg. A chinese engineer non better than the Malay qualified engineer, the former receive double than the latter ?

    So CLF, its all in the heart. If you are a good non elite boss, you will consider everybody is your friend rsgardless of race, colors and faith. The problem is the chinese here, sombong and tamak !!! They want to control everything…

  19. How not to when quotas are set for almost everything. It’s all started with the protection of a certain race that lead to that race being over dependent on the protector that causes the demise of racialism today. Who’s to blame? The Chinese, no. The Malays, no. The one who managing or governing this country. The policies they sets. The direction of educating follow generations produces the product of racialism.
    Nothing can eliminate racialism. It’s in us. It’s among the same races. It’s a demon that needs to be suppressed with good governance and education based on meritocracy. Schools and homes are where racialism should be nipped. It’s the beginning of one education. We are supposed to help those that are weak not those based on race. How are we to do away with racialism when our politicians are using it to pit against one another. Race based political parties are infect doing a lot of harm to this country.
    Sorry, Malaysia is a goner unless strong leaders with the will to battle decades to bring racialism to a accepted moderated level. Discussion like these should be productive but its infect fuel more racialism as we built walls to defense racialism.

  20. Hi Din,

    Since we are talking about ‘universities’ and ‘quotas’, what is your opinion on this.

    https://www.studyinternational.com/news/the-growing-gender-imbalance-in-higher-ed-where-have-all-the-boys-gone

    Malaysia is mentioned quite heavily in that.

    Which remind me of a newspaper article (long time ago, 2007?) where a local politicians was asked about the situation (gender imbalance) and his answer was ‘we will do nothing’.

    Equality is a very interesting word these days.

  21. L Wijaya – of course discrimination also occur in Singapore, though I dare say on a much much smaller scale than Malaysia. In fact, most of the HR functions in MNCs in Singapore are taken over by foreigners and there are many cases of such foreigners actually discriminating against Singaporeans when they are working in Singapore. They actively recruit their own nationals. Talk about biting the hands that feed you.

    Your case about the Chinese Muslim. Yes, it is sad and true. She wore a tudung and was mistaken for a Malay. But as Wayne has related above, there are a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that generally (and I am generalizing here – all generalizing are bad, including this one) Malays do not pull their weight. I agree in this case there is discrimination. This is ONE case. Now look at Malaysia. Such cases are the norm rather than the exception.

  22. L Wijaya – just think about the case you brought up. It made the news in Singapore. Dog bites man is such a common occurrence it seldom make the news unless the dog tore off the face of the man or maul the child to death. But man bite dog – that will usually make it into the front page.

    This discrimination case in Singapore made it to the news. In Malaysia, such practices are institutionalized and occur with such numbers and instances that it no longer has news value.

  23. “All workers are the same after all.” abdul jalil @ 10:27pm

    Not really. It’s a system that is undergoing putrefaction over the decades since we started our own businesses – whether professional or otherwise. 3 decades ago, we never had the ‘luxury’ of prolonged celebratory leave. We worked our asses off, irregardless of race, religion or other parameters.

    A Malay (i.e Muslim), during Ramadhan, fasted according to his conscience and religious obligation in those times and never imposed his ‘restrictions’ on others. He did not ‘forbid’ nor insult the Nons for his-her own obligations and remained steadfast in faith.

    Nowadays, it’s all about form, without the ‘substance’ (essence, if quibbling about semantics), therefore the need to impose their restrictions on others whom they see as menjolok their akidah and cause their nafsu to go haywire. This is NOT what religion is about, is it? Otherwise, their god is of ‘temporality’. Look at the glutton spread of so-called ‘Buka Puasa’ specials and the number of customers waiting to break fast in any of the malls and fast-food joints and you get me drift.

    The Chinese and Hindus reacted to this by pretending that they too had ‘Holier-Than-Thou’ needs. Some even exceed their hoary neighbors in displays that border on rudeness. Yes, hypocrites all.

    So came “Entitlement” and the reactionary “Counter-Entitlement” in all it’s glory. Meanwhile, with all these ‘requirements’, celebratory hedonism became the anti-thesis of Productivity. We have too many Public Holidays and have devolved into a nation of lazy entitled elites, slackers and epicurean gluttons.

  24. As for maae, i still do not understand what you are saying. Translation please.
    If you are trying to say that the truly ‘Entitled’ indigenous ‘Race’ is being deprived of livelihood and perks, think again.

    Decide whether religiosity and race trumps hard-work, pragmatism or utilitarianism. Heart and head must work together, otherwise one becomes a ‘Vegetable’.

  25. The,
    I felt some of what Wijaya has explained is much misplaced but then since his namesake indicates that he is from Indonesia……..What happened nong nong time ago in Indonesia hah?

    Madhater then used this clips to tell us that we should be fortunate to be Malaysian……..hahahaha, LKY on the other hand

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1969_race_riots_of_Singapore

    Rather than encounraging it like what the UMNO has done, PAP eradicate it.

    Let’s ask Conrad what is the successor of Malaysia PAP

  26. “Let’s ask Conrad what is the successor of Malaysia PAP”

    That your DAP masters of the evangelical wing want to turn Malaysia into a Christian State ?

  27. Affirmative action is akin to the one child policy. Your resources will all go to him and most likely he will also end up as CEO of the company you have built. That is why you have governments. They are supposed to understand what is in the national interest and accordingly make the necessary changes as and when require. Nothing is left to stand for ever.

    The problem here is that once you are in power there is a tendency to personalizes national affairs and nationalize personal affairs. The devil is in the details. That is why only those countries that pay homage to the separation of powers are classified as developed countries. Do not take my word for it. Make your own survey. In this regard, Third World Countries that have a desire to join the develop world should pay attention to three things. Accountability, Accountability and Accountability.

  28. Looes,

    I guess from your name you’re a bit loose in the head. So what if i do have origins ifrom indonesia, that would suddenly make me stupid or something? Just shows how racist you are then. So much for seeing people beyond their skin color or creed. You’re no person to talk about discrimination then.

    To The. The problem is how do we resolve inequality if there is no affirmative action? The non malays view government preferential hiring as racist. But even if there were none there aren’t many non malays who would consider working for the government anyway because it is malay dominated and doesnt pay as well as the private sector. And i dont think most of them would want to work for a malay goverment anyway. So the imbalance in the public sector is unlikely due to hiring discrimination. Its just non-malays attitude towards it. Go ahead and ask your friends if they would ever consider a government job given that there were no hiring descrimination. See how many would answer yes. Most likely none. But those non Malays that have opted for government in the past have managed to rise to the top. Like ramon navaratnam and rebecca sta maria. I dont see it as an impossibility or difficulty for them to rise.
    The issue then is not so much the public sector. It is more so the private sector. Private business owners with more sovereignty over how they want to run their business will not willingly take the effort to address this problem. So inequality in the workplace would remain and will be the greatest source of hiring discrimination since private sector provides the most jobs and are predominantly controlled bu non malays.
    On singapore, the case of discrimination towards malays might not be very obvious because they have a greater controlled media and Malays make up about 14%. But with a greater number of chinese and more culturally expressive i’m sure hiring discrimination is as bad in the private sector, and even worse in the public sector.

  29. To The,

    You have greatly underestimated Chinese discrimination of non-Chinese in Singapore. A cursory search on the matter yields quite substantial results. Singapore is not as rosy or as ideal as you think especially to the non-Chinese. Just look at the experiences detailed by the victims here;

    https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singapore-chinese-muslim-stunned-by-halal-dietary-question-in-job-application-050755708.html?linkId=15247978
    http://www.transitioning.org/2010/11/18/yes-discriminatory-hiring-practices-exist-in-singapore/

    Now with Malay political voice in Singapore almost non-existent, (making up of only 3 MPs, and even then stifled voice because under PAP) there is much lesser room for the Malays to air their grievance. And with Singapore’s supposed anti-racial laws, anything related to ethnic sentiment even though when a group is discriminated against is thrown to the bin and quickly hushed. This is partly why we don’t hear of it often. PAP and LKY has been harsher than Mahathir in eliminating his opponents. This stance will not at all solve the problem. When the problems are not at all being recognized what chance does it have being addressed? A non-racial Singapore and non-seggregated Singapore is a pipe dream. Reality is much starker. And comparatively, the non-Malays are in a much better position politically and socially in Malaysia than the Malays are in Singapore (The non-Malays control both the private and public sector in Singapore, whereas there is much more of a balance here in Malaysia).

    We cannot deny some things that are done by those in power, either political or economic, are motivated or shaped by their own culture, which might have the result of marginalizing another cultural group. This is true for both Malays and nons. But which is better? Having race-based political parties where at least these problems can at least be brought forward and potentially managed, or a single seemingly non-racial party that sweeps such issues under the carpet and pretends it does not exist, and thereby exacerbating the problem? In such a scheme, that group which holds economic power will most likely dominate all areas of society. Lately the voice of support for a non-racial party has grown stronger. My worry is that with non-racial parties, issues such as these will be swept under the carpet and if left to follow its own course will greatly lead to social inequality.

  30. oops sorry. there are 12 Malay MPs in Singapore not 3. The previous info was provided by brother-in-law which he clearly got wrong. nevertheless, what I said about the voice of Malays being stifled still holds true.

  31. Our founding fathers built the constitution based on the three main groups having a place in the sun. Many may not know there there was a unwritten guideline which placed recruitment into the Civil Service (PTD) on a ratio of 4:1. Now to say that the other groups do not want to work for a ” Malay Government” is to say the least a bit out of place. This desire by other groups to work for government could easily be accounted for if one studies the volume of application for jobs in government by the other groups.

    In a family the father set the tone. If he plays favourite the children affected by it cannot expected to act normally. I have said this before, only the father counts. He has the power to turn a bad son into a good one and to turn a good son into a bad one.

  32. /// L Wijaya July 4, 2015 at 1:02 am
    To The,
    You have greatly underestimated Chinese discrimination of non-Chinese in Singapore…
    …oops sorry. there are 12 Malay MPs in Singapore not 3 ///

    There you have your answer. You see what you want to see, and you already think the Malays are not well represented in Singapore because of discrimination. There are not 3, not 12, but 13 Malay MPs in Singapore. With the internet, it is so easy to find the answer, but of course saying there are only 3 will bolster your case.

    1) Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef, 2) Mdm Halimah Yacob, 3) Mr Hawazi Daipi, 4) Dr Intan Azura Binte Mokhtar, 5) Mr Masagos Zulkifli Bin Masagos Mohamad, 6) Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, 7) Mr Mohd Ismail Hussein, 8) Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap, 9) Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, 10) Assoc Prof Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, 11) Mr Zainal Bin Sapari, 12) Mr Zainudin Nordin, 13) Mr Zaqy Mohamad.

    13 Malay MPs out of 87 MPs = 15%. Malay made up 13.3% of Singapore’s population and this fact alone debunked your contention that the Malays are discriminated. And this is the apex of Singapore’s law makers. BTW, Halimah Yacob is the Speak of Parliament, and she’s a female (in case you feign ignorance). Has there ever been a female Speaker of Parliament in Malaysia?

    You were talking about Chinese discrimination of non-Chinese in Singapore. The number of Malay MPs already exposed your bald-faced lie. Why don’t we look at the number of Indian MPs. Indians accounted for 9.2% of Singapore’s population – even more of a minority. Indians are also non-Chinese. There are 11 Indian MPs, or 12.6%, which is much higher that 9.2%. Indians are way over-represented – so are you still insisting that non-Chinese are discriminated by the Chinese in Singapore. For crying out loud, the DPM is an Indian. Will this ever happen in Malaysia?

    Only in Malaysia is there a hang-up on percentage. Malays = 50.1% and indigenous 11.8% for a total of 61.9%. So, 62% of government posts must be given to Malay. But what is the situation? More than 90%, if not higher, of government jobs are given to Malay. More than 90% of jobs in GLCs are given to Malay.

    Are you saying that because there are 13% Malay in Singapore, 13% of every top jobs must be GIVEN to Malay, whether they deserve them or not? Whether they qualify for them or not?

    But why are we thinking in terms of proportional representation? This is not how meritocracy works. Do check up on the number of Malays enrolled in Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale and the other Ivy-league colleges. I can bet you that the percentages are negligible. Are you going to accuse these world class universities of discrimination against the Malay.

    The fact is, given the opium that UMNO and Mahathir had been giving to the Malays, Malays are no longer competitive.

    /// nevertheless, what I said about the voice of Malays being stifled still holds true. ///

    Now that you admitted there are 12 Malay MPs (should be 13), you switched tack and say Malay voice are being stifled. Do you know how much the Chinese voice and Indian voice are stifled? Do you know how many non-Malay PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) are driving taxis or jobless. Because of meritocracy, Singapore is a tough and heartless place to be – you carry your weight, or you accept your rightful place. I personally know many Oxbridge graduates who are jobless or doing their own things. It is so easy to cry discrimination when one is less qualified or less capable.

    Malays are as good as others. It is UMNO and Mahathir that has poisoned the minds of Malays with the opium of entitlement and quota. It is UMNO and Mahathir that provided the crutches so much so that Malays have atrophied.

    Let me tell you one thing – for any one Malay MP in Singapore, there are more than 1000 non-Malays who are better qualified. So, you still want to talk about Chinese discrimination against non-Chinese?

    http://www.parliament.gov.sg/list-of-current-mps

  33. /// L Wijaya July 4, 2015 at 1:02 am
    Just look at the experiences detailed by the victims here;

    https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singapore-chinese-muslim-stunned-by-halal-dietary-question-in-job-application-050755708.html?linkId=15247978
    http://www.transitioning.org/2010/11/18/yes-discriminatory-hiring-practices-exist-in-singapore/ ///

    Wijaya, from my 2 earlier posts, you should have figured out that I have already known about this case. And I unequivocally said this is a sad and true case. Man bite dog, and dog bite man ring a bell?

  34. Wijaya, good that you bring up this case in Singapore. The Singapore authority is investigating the case. Would Malaysian authorities do likewise? They will be swamped with millions of cases. That is providing those going to the government offices to complain cover up their legs and arms first.

  35. I already told you I was informed by my brother in law who happens to be Singaporean. It was not due to blinkered view that I had the figure wrong. The fact that I corrected myself showed you that but its okay you may persist with your views. When I meant that Malay voice is being stifled even though they have 13 MPs is that they do not even have the balls to stand up to talk about Malay issues because they are expected to toe the party line.

    Both the private sector and the public sector discriminate against Malays. And it is not limited to that one case about the Muslim Chinese. If you had read the second link i pasted earlier by http://www.transitioning.org you would learn about a headhunter’s account of how employers avoid choosing non-Chinese. The choice of avoiding a non-Chinese candidate is a cultural one, it is not based on merit.

    We also can’t deny the SIngaporean government promotes Mandarin and Chinese culture through the SAP schools so its foolish to say they don’t look at things through racial lense

    //The July 4, 2015 at 11:42 am

    “Do you know how many non-Malay PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) are driving taxis or jobless.”///

    This is hardly an argument. In a country where the majority race are Chinese, it is expected that they will have significant representation in all levels of society from the top to the bottom. It is the same in Malaysia where most taxi drivers are Malays. You can’t expect all the Chinese to sit at the top and the rest at the bottom unless you are advocating apartheid.

    //The July 4, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Malays are as good as others. It is UMNO and Mahathir that has poisoned the minds of Malays with the opium of entitlement and quota. It is UMNO and Mahathir that provided the crutches so much so that Malays have atrophied.///

    Anybody has the potential to be as good as anybody. But you are not looking at sociological factors which plays a large part in contributing to a person’s attainment of success. Economic factors, family influence, and culture have a hand. You are also neglecting the effects of cultural bias in providing opportunities. Just like this study by Lee Hwok Aun and Muhammed Abdul Khalid demonstrated, Malays can’t even get decent opportunities for a job in the private sector. It is the same if you are an entrepreneur as you may face discrimination in the supply chain and business network where cultural-bias behavior may also be present. If you aren’t even given the stage to try, what chance do you have to succeed. Its like a blaming a person born in jail and imprisoned his whole life for not succeeding in life. Of course this is an extreme example but I just want to make it clear that opportunities matter. There have been so many studies which shows factors such as parents level of education and economic status that makes a difference in someone’s success attainment. Meritocracy when the resources in society are not equally distributed will naturally lead to those with more at the beginning to dominate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proposing that government continue giving handouts to the undeserved like already-rich UMNO-linked businessmen. I’m just saying that there are Malays due to certain sociological and cultural-bias factors that do not get the right opportunities and if imbalanced are to be addressed it has to be through AA.

    //The July 4, 2015 at 12:05 pm
    And I unequivocally said this is a sad and true case. Man bite dog, and dog bite man ring a bell?//

    Its not so much a case of man bite dog. The discrimination to non-Chinese in Singapore is so rampant that it is a case of dog bite man. But because the man is a second class citizen, the dog owner doesn’t care. And it goes back to the stifled voice issue. Malays have no voice. When was the last time Malay MPs stood up to address Malay concerns of gravity in Singapore. I tried to google it and I couldnt find.

    //The July 4, 2015 at 12:15 pm
    Wijaya, good that you bring up this case in Singapore. The Singapore authority is investigating the case. Would Malaysian authorities do likewise? They will be swamped with millions of cases.//

    Yes I do hope the Malaysian authorities do something about private business discrimination against Malays in Malaysia. Its been going on for too long.

  36. The,

    Having representation in a extremely controlled legislative body does not mean there is no discrimination in a country nor does it mean that said minority representatives [should advocate for their ethnic group] or in fact do. In Malaysia there are token faces that exceed whatever quotas that eligibility suggests but there is rampant discrimination.

    Likewise in Singapore the minorities have made peace with the discrimination they face in exchange for the peace and stability that the Regime provides, much as the minorities here did when they voted for decades for BN rule.

    It’s been some time since I read my Singapore law reports but if I am not mistaken, Singapore has used its restrictive laws mostly on Chinese provocations against the Malay minority population.

    Add this to the hostility faced by immigrant labour communities and this idea that Singapore has a peaceful race relations is pure bunkum. What Singapore has managed to do, is control the race discourse extremely well, but what this has led to is the rise of crypto racism which ….is a topic for another conversation.

  37. /// Yes I do hope the Malaysian authorities do something about private business discrimination against Malays in Malaysia. Its been going on for too long. ///

    Wijaya – if this is your idea of discrimination, then I am wasting time. You have millions discriminated by the Malaysian government in the public sector, and you can only think of discrimination in the private sector. If your idea of discrimination is that a person should be employed regardless of his merits so that the racial quota is fulfilled, then any discussion is futile.

    I grief for Malaysia. Talents are not wanted and they go down south to contribute to another country. And the majority wants affirmative action (whereas anywhere else in the world, affirmative action is done to protect the minority). The usual response to any malaise is to blame everyone else, except oneself. This is the lesson taught by Mahathir. No wonder Malaysia will not progress. Easier to blame others than to improve oneself.

    Nice talking to you.

  38. To The,

    When there are more qualified Malays who can speak Chinese who are clearly being overlooked you can’t say it is just a merit issue. Clearly in this case of Private business discrimination towards Malays, merit is clearly being sidelined. Also, it is quite funny that you, a person who supports meritocracy, is not feeling indignant about the practice exhibited by these private businesses against the Malays because clearly they have sidelined meritocracy. A true supporter of meritocracy would feel aggrieved by the treatment of those who are qualified but yet are sidelined due to factors such as race. Yet you were more defensive of Singapore’s hypocrisy and whats more you were as if excusing the behaviour of these private sectors. Seems to me you’re no more a supporter of meritocracy than Ibrahim Ali or Mahathir since when it comes to a group which you support betraying these principles you close one eye. Since you’re keen on self-reflection or looking at your own traits to see find faults, here’s something you learn about yourself today.

    Anyway, I never at all suggested that merit not be considered at all in an AA, it can be incorporated by assigning weights and priorities to criteria for acceptance of the programme. For me AA is more about giving someone a foot in the door, but once that foot is in it should be about merit.

    I don’t disagree that there are many problems facing the Malay that has to do with himself rather than factors outside. But again as I said even if you fix yourself and have the talent and skills you can’t thrive if there’s no opportunity. The environment matters too.

  39. L Wijaya,

    Is there discrimination in the private sector ? Yes there is. Is this discrimination as deleterious on the country and Malays (since nobody really cares about the Indians and Orang Asli) as the discriminatory polices of the UMNO Regime. No.

    We can talk about the collusion of the private sector and this Regime or the underlying basis of niche ethno centric industries and professions but the reality is that the economy and the private sector for decades has sustained this country and encouraged the growth of the middle class and specifically that of the Malay middle class.

    The same can’t be said of those State polices which in effect has complicated already strained existing communal relations with regards to resources , access to fundamental rights and liberties and quality of life. And if you think the Non Malays are the ones with suffer the brunt of this, you are sadly mistaken.

    I would argue that resolving the discrimination problems within the private sector is far easier that dismantling the racist policies of the State and indeed should be tackled as a means of correcting an already corrupt political system.

    It is pointless linking the discrimination of the private sector as an excuse or justification of the existing “social contract” simply because any discrimination in the private sector has not had such a profound effect on the country as the policies of the State.

    In fact I would argue that over the years the private sector has corrected itself or self regulated despite the racists tendencies of its main movers and shakers, because as someone once said, racisms does not work in the long run. I would also argue that in some ways, the State has attempted to do this too but with far from satisfactory results.

    This does not mean that we should forget about the discrimination in the private sector, but merely means, we have to dismantle the biggest impediment to racial equality in this country and then turn our attention , our full attention to the private sector and the nonsense it has been up to for years.

  40. Chinese are racists in everything because of greed.

    In many companies, the production workers will be non chinese; the management & purchasing will be all Chinese. How do you explain this?

    Chinese job agencies will only hire Chinese applicants for high salary positions.

    The Chinese use “Chinese Only”, “Preferrably Chinese” & “Able to converse in Mandarin” as a tool to discriminate. This speaks volume.

    There is no study done for the Indians; why? Because the Indians are the one who will make the conclusion.

    Chinese are racist beings. Hopefully, when Christ comes, vengeance will be repaid in full.

  41. Pingback: Do Malays Lack Empathy? – CEKU.ORG

  42. Pingback: Do Malays Lack Empathy?

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