Gardenia Bakeries KL recently came under fire after multiple netizens accused them of discriminating against Malaysian citizens in favour of employing refugees
A quick scroll through their Facebook page revealed numerous comments by frustrated Malaysians who questioned why the bread supplier was hiring foreigners instead of locals, particularly during the time of COVID-19 where citizens are already facing rising unemployment.
Several netizens even went so far as to threaten the company with a boycott if Gardenia continued to employ Rohingya refugees.
"I will boycott Gardenia. Next I will buy Massimo," claimed one netizen.
Over the weekend, Gardenia released two statements in response to citizens' concerns regarding their hiring practices
While it recognised that societies are facing an unprecedented time both socially and economically, the bread company also reminded the public that "Mankind is united with the same goal: to build stable livelihoods in a collective manner."
As for their contribution, Gardenia explained that they have specially allocated RM1,000,000 to individuals categorised as B40 and under since the beginning of the Movement Control Order (MCO).
On top of their monetary donations, the bread company also stated that they have been active participants in the government's pilot career programme for refugees since 2017
Officially launched in March 2017 by the Immigration Department of Malaysia and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the pilot scheme aims to secure 300 refugees with agricultural and manufacturing jobs from participating companies around the country - one of which being Gardenia.
There are 57 Rohingya refugees currently employed at Gardenia's factories. However, the company noted that they are no longer taking on new hires from the project.
Contrary to the allegations, the wholesale bread supplier actually has plenty of vacancies yet to be filled and urged Malaysians to send in their applications
In their statement, Gardenia emphasised that their employees, both locals and foreigners, are working around the clock to ensure that those living in Peninsular Malaysia can continue to enjoy their bread.
They added that citizens need not worry as they are still on the lookout for new employees with recruitment sessions taking place twice a week.
Just a few months back, Gardenia was working at full capacity as its employees hurried to replenish their bread that quickly sold out at the beginning of the MCO: