'Racist' job ad lands coffee chain in hot water

'Racist' job ad lands coffee chain in hot water

A job recruitment advertisement posted by OldTown White Coffee went viral after it stirred up the anger of Malaysians who felt it discriminated against Indians.

The advertisement, which also announced the upcoming launch of the coffee chain's Taman Mount Austin outlet in Johor Baru, said the outlet was looking to hire 12 wait staff, six cooks and four supervisors - with priority being given to Malay and Chinese applicants, reported The Star.

This sparked outrage on the chain's Facebook page with Facebook users like Mr Sarawanan Selvarajoo, commenting on OldTown's Malaysia Day greeting: "This is how OldTown celebrates 'Hari Malaysia' (Malaysia Day)? Only selected races welcomed into your premises? (sic)" Another Facebook user, Mr Kishan Kumar, commented: "You do know that we live in a multiracial society, so Malays, Chinese and Indians are practically friends. And you get to see that harmony in OldTown where they sit down and drink coffee!!! Why the racism! We want an explanation!"


OldTown White Coffee apologised for the advertisement.

"On behalf of the franchisee, OldTown White Coffee management would like to sincerely apologise for the unacceptable and offensive content on the recruitment notice.

"As a home-grown Malaysian brand, we value everyone equally and it has never been our intention or the intention of the franchisee to make any individuals feel slighted or offended in any way," it said.

"We are already in contact with the directors of Paramount Grand Success Sdn Bhd (a franchisee of OldTown White Coffee) to rectify this matter.

"The directors have explained that the job application announcement was never meant to discriminate. They have expressed their regret."

The chain added that immediate and appropriate action would be taken to ensure such advertisements are not circulated again. Local celebrity Mark Lee brought the Malaysian coffee chain to Singapore in 2008.

This article was first published on September 23, 2014.
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