Malaysiakini Letter

BEBAS supports proposal for workplace discrimination law

Bebas  |  Published:  |  Modified:


LETTER BEBAS, a movement that promotes secularism and opposes discrimination, supports PKR MP Rafizi Ramli’s call for a workplace discrimination law.

It is our belief that no person should be discriminated at work solely on grounds such as gender, race, and religion or belief, and that there should be no discrimination against people with disabilities.

Discriminatory practices should be eliminated in all processes, including hiring, compensation.

A common example are job advertisements blatantly stating “Chinese only” or mandating “Mandarin-speaking” candidates as a covert way of stating the same racial preference. This is unacceptable.

The government itself must lead in this regard by ensuring greater diversity in the civil service. Government-linked corporations too must avoid discrimination in recruitment, promotion, and other workplace policies.

We urge that the proposed Act be more inclusive to cover many other facets of unfair discrimination, including on factors such as age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, and discrimination against people living with HIV.

It should be illegal for employers to require a pre-employment health screening, except where it is a reasonable operational concern such as in food preparation, or to require the potential employee to disclose their HIV-positive status.

There is also a need for the Act to provide protection in other avenues where discrimination is frequently experienced, such as the property rental market.

A concrete first step to reducing the continued stereotyping and stigmatisation of different groups of renters would be for property listing websites and apps to stop offering owners the option to specify their preferences of renters.

We refer to the Civil Rights Act (1964) in the US and the Equality Act (2010) in the UK as examples of legislation which can help curb widespread discrimination in Malaysian society.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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