I wrote a post about institutionalised racism a few months ago, and I'm back again with another example, one which is quite fascinating, but unfortunately not really surprising.
The Centre of Governance and Political Science conducted a rather large scale study to uncover if racism was rampant in the Malaysian private sector with regards to job recruitment. You can read the full details at the link above, but in a nutshell, almost 4000 job applications were submitted to more than 500 job listings. Seven "candidates" had exactly the same resumes, with the only difference being the "candidates" themselves. The "candidate" in all resumes was actually the same person, just given a different identity in each, either male or female, either Malay, Chinese, or Indian (the three main races in Malaysia). Despite having the exact same qualifications, it was discovered that the Chinese "candidates" (both male and female) had far better luck in getting calls for interviews compared to their Malay and Indian competition. Needless to say, this resulted in quite a shock to some people, but was completely expected by others who claim to have experienced this discrimination first-hand.
There are other results that were uncovered by this study, but this is the main takeaway: Chinese candidates are preferred over Malay and Indian candidates in the Malaysian private sector, regardless of qualifications.
It's easy to play the blame game here and call the private sector racist, but really, this is the result of continued institutionalised racism that has plagued this country for decades. One possible explanation could be that since Malaysia has always given special privileges to Malay citizens (as you can read in my previous post), Chinese citizens work tremendously hard to get their fair share in what they may deem an unfair country. Ultimately, many of them may end up working in the private sector (either by choice or necessity), rather than the government sector. Potentially, once they climb the corporate ladder and are in a position to hire others, they might favour Chinese candidates, being in a "lookout for your own kind" sort of mentality.
Institutionalised racism is a vicious cycle in Malaysia, and it doesn't seem like it will be solved any time soon. For as long as the constitution favours one race over the others, everything will be affected. Like a machine with many moving gears and cogs. If one is faulty, every connected piece will be affected.