MCA central committee member Koh Chin Han has demanded proof from Umno supreme council member Tajuddin Abdul Rahman over his claims that Chinese firms are discriminating Malays.
"Does Tajuddin have any valid evidence on his allegation of Chinese-owned private firms refusing to hire Malays?
"If none at all, he is merely spreading allegations in attempts to divide the Malays and Chinese, which is a very vicious act," said Koh, who is also a senator.
Koh was responding to Tajuddin's comments made at the opening of the Permatang Pauh Umno wings divisional meeting yesterday.
According to China Press, Tajuddin, who is also the agriculture and agro-based industries minister specifically addressed the Chinese media on the issue.
"You Chinese media can write about this, no problem, because no one dares to talk about this.
"These Chinese or non-Malay companies won’t hire Malay employees; they accuse Umno of being racists, bigots, yet they are even more racist that Umno,” he was quoted as saying.
As such, he said Malays had no choice but to turn to public service with some 1.5 million civil servants being Malays.
He added that the Chinese can apply to join the civil service yet they forget to provide space for Malays to join the private sector.
Tajuddin also defended Umno against accusations of racism, stating that if the party was so racist, the Chinese community would not be as wealthy as they are today.
However, Koh (photo) in his statement today accused Tajuddin of playing the race card.
"I am quite curious as to whether Tajuddin has lived in his race-based circle for such a long time and has thus become like the proverbial frog in a well, starting to see things with a racist mindset?
"Or does Tajuddin lack confidence in the capability of Malays that he thinks the private sector is discriminating against Malays?" he said.
Koh insisted that employers hire based on qualifications instead of race, and slammed Tajuddin for "talking nonsense".
"In today’s competitive world, corporations emphasise more on the employee’s capability, attitude, experience and past performance for the company’s overall success.
"Factors like race and religion are usually not taken into consideration at all.
“There are many bright Malay employees who are working in the private sector and government-linked companies," he said.
Universiti Malaya senior lecturer Lee Hwok Aun and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia research fellow Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid in a 2012 study found fresh Chinese graduates were more likely to be called for a job interview in the private sector compared to Malays.
The research conducted a field experiment whereby fake resumes of Malay and Chinese graduates were used to apply for real jobs.