Malaysia
is one of the multiracial country among the country in Southeastern. As we know
every individuals are forms by different ethnic groups and to perform different
culture in order to stay harmony between each other (worldatlas.com 2017). The
races are devided into three different main ethnic groups, namely Malays,
Chinese and Indians (Rozita 2007). Each of them plays an important role to the
society as each of them is taking a big scale of ration within the Malaysia
population. Not like the other minor ethnic group, these three races can be
track in every living area in Malaysia. In the Malaysian context, these three
major ethnic groups are special and often portrayed a multicultural society
even though Malaysia is not the only country that has multiple races. Therefore,
we can define multiculturalism is
a situation in which all the different cultural or racial groups in a society
have equal rights and opportunities, and none is ignored or regarded as
unimportant (Collins 2017). Over
the years, models of multiculturalism have been ignored. However, they are now
acknowledged as essential to good public relations practices in Malaysia. PR practitioners who wish to build positive
and strong relationships in our country need to be aware of increasing
diversities and to deal with them effectively. One of the principal tasks of
public relations practitioners consists in reflecting the complexity of the
environment and understanding the different attitudes, values and expectations
of its interlocutors, possibly through a one-with-one dialogue (Silvia
Ravazzani 2006, 11). Different values and way of lifestyle is being passed down
from one generation to another generation. This means that different ethnic
group has their own style of communication and belief that supporting their
daily life and activities. In this type of nation background, the way that
Public Relations in Malaysia carry out their role is very different compare
with the countries that has a lesser ethnic group. Hence, we have to determine
language impacts on PR practitioners and to find out the role of cultural
sensitivity skills on PR practice.

 

In
today’s era, multilingualism has become more than just ‘important’. Knowing a multi-
language other than native language has evolved to be extremely beneficial for
the PR practitioners in Malaysia. Whether viewed from the financial or social
aspect, being able to communicate in a multi- language helps to make ‘real’
connection with people and build a mutual understanding of the languages
communication among people. It means that learning
multi- language can make the individual employment opportunities to become more
higher. As
we know most of the companies are looking for individuals are own with
multi-language skills except single language. This
is due to multi-languages will help an individual become a successful PR
practitioners in their workplace as multi-languages can improve individual performance
and customer relationship. Furthermore, learning a multi-language is that the
knowledge of a multi- language which can enhances cognitive and analytical
abilities. As learning other culture language is tough and involves a lot of
mental exercise. Therefore, it may improve individual personality and increases
sense of self-worth. PR practitioners who are the one always associated with
social services and work with different diversity group must be able to speak
multi-language. It is to ensure that PR practitioners can communicate and serve
people better (Paul 2016).

 

The
idea behind cultural sensitivity is very direct. Cultural sensitivity refers to
a set of skills that allows people to learn about and understand people cultural
background which is not same with us. Most countries have multicultural issues.
Understanding cultural sensitivity is quite important. Therefore, there is a
need for PR practitioners to understand the religions such as Islam,
Christianity and Hinduism that are practiced in Malaysia. For example, when
Malaysia launched Proton Iswara that is a Hindu term, ‘iswara’ also means
butterfly. It has a great value for Malaysian people. Another example is Proton
Saga (the first edition), saga is a type of fruit which is red and bright in
Malaysia. But came to Europe, it cannot use Proton Saga because Saga has a bad
connotation for European cultures. Then, it changed the name to Proton Persona
as Persona is about personality or impression. From the example above, it is PR
responsibility to do research and consult the matter (Jawad & Mustafa 2010).

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