Allianz Malaysia has been accused of racism for rejecting a man who had travelled for two hours to attend a job interview he was invited for
Benice Festus, a 23-year-old Nigeria national who has been living in Malaysia since 2014, took to his Instagram account on Tuesday, 17 November, to allege that he was discriminated based on his race.
According to the mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, he had applied for a job at Allianz Malaysia, a European multinational financial services company, and he received an invitation to come in for an interview.
"I was booked for an interview after posting my resume/CV online and was contacted by Allianz Malaysia on WhatsApp," Ben wrote on his Instagram post that has since gone viral.
Ben was approached by a recruiter for the company after they saw his resume on a Malaysian job portal called WOBB.
According to Ben, before going in for the interview, he had sent the recruiter for Allianz a video clip of himself, showing who he is
However, once there, he was told that they "don't take foreigners".
In an IGTV post on Ben's Instagram, a man and a woman can be heard speaking.
In it, the woman says that they are not allowed to hire foreigners. To which, the man can be heard replying in an understanding tone. The woman then apologises to the man and he can be seen leaving the office.
While it is possible for Malaysian companies to employ foreign workers, there are several requirements that must be met to justify to the government as to why the company needs to hire a foreigner against a local.
Due to which, many companies have internal policies that restrict the hiring of foreign workers.
Ben told this SAYS writer that he had rented a car to go to the Allianz office in Uptown 2, Damansara Utama from his location in Bandar Saujana Putra. The rental including toll cost him about RM200.
"Money is nothing. It's the trauma given," Ben explained to me over WhatsApp.
Prior to being told that Allianz doesn't hire foreigners, Ben alleged that he was treated rudely by a staff member who asked him questions like "Who are you?" and "What are you doing here?" in a hostile tone
In his Instagram post, Ben also alleged that the staff member then went on to say that they "don't even hire Indians", let alone foreigners. However, the IGTV he posted doesn't contain this particular exchange.
According to Ben, when he started recording, the staff member noticed and tried to be polite.
He told me that Allianz later tried to apologise for the trouble and offered him money for transport.
Ben's allegations have prompted netizens to call out Allianz
They have flooded the company's Instagram comment section, leaving strongly worded remarks.
Majority of the comments were left on a post about Deepavali, in which Allianz said that it's "an auspicious time to welcome newer, brighter beginnings". At the time of this article, there were over 450 comments.
Allianz Malaysia has since investigated the allegations
In a statement emailed to this SAYS writer earlier today, 19 November, the company claimed that they learnt about Ben's experience at one of its agency offices in Damansara through his Instagram post.
According to Allianz Malaysia Berhad, while they understand Ben's anger and disappointment, the company is "equally distressed that such an incident has transpired and any allegations that Allianz Malaysia would even resort to such unethical tactics or racism is deeply disappointing".
The company also denied Ben's allegations without specifying which part, saying their internal investigations found that "the allegations put forth against Allianz Malaysia are uncorroborated".
However, Allianz acknowledged that "due diligence was not exercised" by its agency when they were shortlisting the Nigeria national for the position of an insurance agent.
"The incident is deeply regrettable and we assure the public that appropriate actions are being taken to address shortcomings on our part in this matter," the company said in the statement.
Recently, a Twitter user analysed data obtained from a local property rental website to demonstrate racism against Malaysian Indians: