KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 ― Malay graduates have been discriminated against by firms owned by the local Chinese and foreigners, Utusan Malaysia reported today in an apparent continuation of the Umno-owned daily’s attack on the community following last month’s general election.
The report was featured on Utusan Malaysia’s front-page with the headlines “Diskriminasi syarikat Cina berdasarkan kajian universiti awam. Graduan Melayu disisih” (Discrimination of Chinese companies based on public university’s research. Malay graduates marginalised), but the Malay-language paper did not name the public university nor the researcher that it said had carried out the study.
Utusan Malaysia said the research showed that the race factor was more important than education qualification in the hiring process, pointing to the higher callback rate for Chinese versus Malay graduates.
“Out of over 3,000 resumes that were sent to the companies involved, the Malays only have a 4.2 per cent chance of being called to attend an interview.
“The Chinese have a 22.1 per cent chance even though they have the same qualification and graduated from the same universities as the Malays,” Utusan Malaysia quoted the research paper as saying, adding that the study involved firms from the accounting, finance and engineering industry.
Utusan Malaysia also said the research involved graduates from private and public institutions of higher learning in the country, with employers favouring those from Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
It quoted the research as saying that employers tended to favour graduates from private universities less, with only graduates from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) including those from the Malay community being the preferred choice in the accounting sector.
“Malay graduates who can write, speak and read in the Chinese language are also more likely to be called to attend interviews,” the paper said.
Utusan Malaysia also said the research was carried out over a period of six months, but did not state when it was conducted or when the survey results were released.
“It is time for the government through the Human Resources Ministry to draft the Equal Opportunity Act and set up a commission to monitor the implementation of this act so that there will be no discrimination in this country,” the paper again quoted the research as saying.
Awang Selamat ― the nom-de-plume representing Utusan Malaysia’s collective editorial voice ― also commented today on the research, repeating that the findings showed that racial discrimination towards Malay graduates exist in firms owned by non-Malays and foreigners.
“In a modern world which should be based on the capability of the work force, there is still racial discrimination in the job sector,” it said.
Awang said the study also show that a job applicant’s mastery of Mandarin was an advantage in non-Malay firms.
“Advertisements that lay down that requirement are actually easily seen in newspapers. This to Awang is clearly from the start a ‘rejection’ of candidates that have not mastered the Mandarin language, which is not the country’s national language,” it said.
It noted the Equal Opportunity Act proposal, but said that there was a need for the public to be voluntarily aware of the depths of the country’s racial discrimination problem if the nation wanted to leave the trap.
After the May 5 election results, which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak attributed to a “Chinese tsunami”, Utusan Malaysia ran reports that appeared to blame the Chinese community for Barisan Nasional (BN)’s historic losses in Election 2013.
On May 7, Utusan Malaysia carried the incendiary headline “Apa lagi Cina mahu?” (What more do the Chinese want?) and went on to defend it the next day with several reports justifying the headline.