Side Views

Letter to the Editor — Lee Hwok Aun and Muhammed Abdul Khalid

NOV 6 — Dear Sir

Your headline, “Malaysian employers practise racial bigotry, study shows” (November 2nd, 2012), grossly misrepresents our study. It is unfortunate that you projected a sensationalised, emotive and reckless headline that vastly deviates from our objective, methodical and dispassionate work.

The article is based on an abstract of our study, and fairly accurately conveys our main findings and conclusions. The article even notes that “they said their data does not directly show the moti[ve] of the racial discrimination in the hiring process based on the experiment they had conducted.”

And yet you have made motive the focal point of the headline, giving a completely false impression of our study. Nowhere in our abstract, nor even in the article, is bigotry mentioned. To insert “bigotry” in the headline is irresponsible and unacceptable.

Furthermore, the Bahasa translation of the same article, “Majikan di Malaysia lebih berminat mengambil pekerja Cina berbanding Melayu”, reasonably captures the crux of our study. How could the headlines of identical articles be worlds apart? We raised strong objections to the headline of the original English article, which appeared before we presented our seminar. Have those objections been implicitly acknowledged in the publication of the Bahasa translation? If the Bahasa headline can be made precise, why can’t the English headline be amended accordingly?

We have conducted and publicised our research to bring about a more informed and level-headed understanding of a very contentious and difficult subject. We urge you to report our findings and generate public debate in a manner that accurately represents our work.

Yours sincerely,

Lee Hwok Aun

Muhammed Abdul Khalid

* Note: The Malaysian Insider stands by the headline of the story in question.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

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