Friday, February 29, 2008

BN's Race Based Politics In Employment Process

In the last week or so, I have attended numerous interviews with mostly local IT firms with an objective to secure a job by March. As a formality, each person intending to go for an interview will be asked to fill in an employment form which usually is split into three sections, primarily, personal details, education and work experience details, and finally the miscellaneous section which includes referees that the company can refer to.

The problem lies in the first section, personal details. In the personal details section, you are mostly required to specify your race, religion, marriage status and sex. This has been seen in mostly local and private companies. And here are two examples of some forms that I managed to take a screen shot of.

This was based from the shot I took when I went for today's interview at CUSCAPI in Shah Alam. It has religion, gender, marital status, languages, sex and nationality. In certain companies, multi-national companies that I went to for interviews, none of these fields existed in the employment form except for citizenship and sometimes gender.

However, in Malaysian GLCs, those fields are a requirement which irks some people but according to the reasoning by the government, it was primarily used to conduct statistics in fields, divided by religion, race, sex and etc. Manulife is a prime example of a GLC company that will ask for those ridiculous details, see second screen-shot above, in which my interview was on the 18th recently (which I got turned down).

In Singapore, such fields above are considered as taboo and it is strictly outlawed in employment forms and job advertisements. The photograph of a person that might be required in employment is also considered taboo. This was part of the government's effort to promote fair practices, equal opportunities and no discrimination to people in applying for jobs. The Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, enforced at end of April 2007, and based on The Tripartite Guidelines on Non-Discriminatory Job Advertisements 2006 has the following criteria that is said 'SHOULD NOT' appear in job advertisements or job employment forms :

1. Age - Should not be used as a requirement for employment. This also includes phrases that suggest preference of age in job advertisements. Alternatively, for cases where jobs which is in physical nature, required physical attributes instead of age-cut off are used.

2. Race - totally outlawed as Singapore practices multi-racialism. Selection on race is unacceptable. Tenders for Shell petrol station is practiced under race.

3. Language - it might create ambiguity and misunderstanding between the recruiter and candidate. If it is a must, an explanation is required especially, if it is part of the job scope, such as dealing with Arabian customers and etc..

4. Sex - unless it is part of the practical requirements of the job with explanations. Preferential phrases are not allowed in forms or job advertisements. Example: fashion modeling.

5.Religion - totally unacceptable unless religion function performing is part of the job.

The fields are primarily not allowed in job-advertisements in addition to job application forms, that extends to photograph, marital status, pregnancy (for females), The main reason is that it creates a perception that employers are doing a preliminary assessment based on the criteria above.

The problem is Barisan Nasional is practicing race-politics based on the 'social contract' drawn out. The time is over and it can be done away as it is a much better approach in encouraging multi-racialism. True, as Anwar said in all of his 'ceramahs', in order for Malaysia to return as one of the top Asian nations, they must do away with old out-dated policies and bad practices / management as well as corruption.

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