Dept: Racial polarisation at workplace worrying

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 28 Jan 2003

SEREMBAN: Racial polarisation at the workplace is becoming a worrying trend, said National Unity Department director-general Datuk Abdul Rashid Sahad. 

He said the tendency of workers to stick within their own community during breaks seemed to be the norm.  

“Racial polarisation is gradually infiltrating workplaces and this is unhealthy for a multi-racial country like ours,” he said after attending the state-level Rukun Tetangga excellence award presentation here on Sunday. The function was opened by National Unity and Social Development Minister Datuk Dr Siti Zaharah Sulaiman and Mentri Besar Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad.  

Abdul Rashid said the lack of understanding on the sensitivities of other races and the passing of “racist” remarks was one of the reasons employees stuck to their own kind. 

“Apart from the workplace, certain politicians are also fuelling racial conflicts with their explicit speeches which touch on racial and religious sensitivities. 

“This can hurt the feelings of certain communities and trigger racial segregation. Politicians should not go overboard when making public speeches as they should realise it could stir up racial sentiments,” he added. 

Abdul Rashid said the department hoped to record “zero racial conflict’ from this year. 

“Among measures adopted by the department are approving grants for Rukun Tetangga (RT) and educating the public, particularly urban folk, on the sensitivities of the various races,” he added. 

He said the Government had targeted to set up 3,000 RTs to cater for 7.5 million people by the end of the year and eventually increase it to 4,800 for 12 million people by 2010. 

There are now about 2,440 RTs, which cater for 6.1 million people.  

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