Story by K.Thaarshenii
Pix by Su Chin
DEPUTY Chief Minister I Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon told a press conference that the Penang state government is committed to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) and will be introducing a “Code of Conduct” for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities through the “Elimination of Racial Discrimination”.
“We believe that the elimination of racial discrimination in the workplace is necessary in a Malaysia muddled by xenophobia, racial politics, religious extremism and preferential treatment for specific ethnic groups in education and employment,” said Rashid on April 5.
Since 2016, KOMAS and Penang Institute have conducted several roundtable discussions with the state government, state agencies such as investPenang and members of civil society.
The feedback obtained from these engagements form the basis for the “Draft Code of Conduct” presented.
The code of conduct, when completed, will comprehensively cover the following key points:
1. Purpose and Status of the Code of Conduct – highlighting the importance of organisations and business enterprises in building an inclusive foundation for society at large.
2. Responsibilities of Employers – a guideline for employers in maintaining a working environment that is free of racism and racial harassment.
3. Responsibilities of Employees – a guideline for employees to preserve an inclusive working environment that is free from racially provocative manners and to participate in measures introduced by the management for the promotion of equal opportunities.
4. Responsibilities of Employment Agencies – a guideline for employment agencies, acting as suppliers of job applicants, to avoid suggesting racial preferences for employees or indicating irrelevant conditions of race in job recruitment.
The executive committee for Industrial Development & International Trade has endorsed the Draft Code of Conduct and is planning to continue having more consultations to improve on it. Comprehensive engagement with stakeholders such as the Penang Development Corporation, investPenang, FREPENCA, SAMENTA and others will be held after the upcoming elections.
“The state government will also lead by example to plan and implement the code at all state-linked and state-owned enterprises, as well as major entities within the private sector.
“It is important to society as a whole for the business sector to adhere to non-discriminatory practices and to pay due attention to the rights and needs, as well as the challenges faced by employees and business partners, particularly vulnerable and marginalised groups,” said Rashid.
Also present were programme coordinator of Pusat KOMAS Ryan Chua Yumin and senior analyst from Penang Institute Yeong Pey Jung.