When you ask for a certain language requirement in a job applicant…


Don’t use language as cover for racism in hiring, says bosses’ group

Imran Ariff -March 21, 2021 5:40 PM330

PETALING JAYA: Language criteria is acceptable when hiring but this requires monitoring to ensure it is not used as a cover for racial discrimination by employers, said the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said that in these instances, the authorities should require companies to explain the reason for their language preferences to ensure there is a valid need for the requirement.

“We cannot put people in straightjackets and say that because they have a language requirement, the company is labelled as racist.

“That language requirement serves a particular purpose, like why the company wants a specific language proficiency for them to deal with clients or prospective clients,” he said during a roundtable discussion organised by social movement “Kita Bukan Kami”.

However, he said this could be used as a way to exclude certain races and suggested there must be proper oversight to make sure any such requirement is justified.

“Someone needs to monitor and ask why a particular language is required when advertising job vacancies. If a company says it is to only employ Malays, for example, then the company should be hauled up.”

He agreed with suggestions made by other panellists that companies could be more transparent when including language preferences in job postings, explaining their rationale more clearly.

The panel was part of the group’s “Projek Sama-Sama”, a series of discussions on diversity. “Kita Bukan Kami” is led by the Institute for Democratic and Economic Affairs and The Fourth, a digital news agency.



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