Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Race-Based Recruitment

Ah... the Chinese are not all to blame after all. It is common place for the ultra-Malays to argue that Chinese companies are not offering "equal opportunities" to Malay professionals. Finally, our former Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Musa Hitam stood up to argue the case that our Malaysian Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) are in a large part, to blame according to an interview published with Sin Chew Jit Poh yesterday.
The present problem, he said, is that GLCs do nothire Chinese but have the habit of headhunting Malay professionals engaged by Chinese companies, and when Chinese companies lose them, certain people would start accusing Chinese companies of "not hiring Malays" or being "anti-Malay".

"In fact, it is not that Chinese companies do not want to hire Malays but there are not that many qualified Malays and they are being pinched by GLCs. Because there are too few Malay professionals and GLCs hire only Malays, Chinese companies looking for professionals could only go for the Chinese."
There you have it. Will Tun Musa Hitam say the same in the Malay vernacular dailies though?

I remember in early 2004 before the current managing director Dato Azman Mokhtar was appointed, foreign analysts openly asked the Khazanah Nasional Berhad during a briefing - non-Malays makes up some 40% of Malaysia's population and the Chinese are known to be some of the most financially astute, why was it that there are no non-Malays in the investment board of Khazanah Nasional?

Today, non-Malays form some 35% of Khazanah's management team of 17, while the board remains dominated entirely by Malays. The ratios are even much worse in GLCs such as Telekom Malaysia and Tenaga Nasional.

We will certainly look forward to the days whereby the GLCs recruit and promote extensively without discrimination based on race, as is perceived today.
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