Malaysiais one of the multiracial country among the country in Southeastern. As we knowevery individuals are forms by different ethnic groups and to perform differentculture in order to stay harmony between each other (worldatlas.
com 2017). Theraces are devided into three different main ethnic groups, namely Malays,Chinese and Indians (Rozita 2007). Each of them plays an important role to thesociety as each of them is taking a big scale of ration within the Malaysiapopulation. Not like the other minor ethnic group, these three races can betrack in every living area in Malaysia. In the Malaysian context, these threemajor ethnic groups are special and often portrayed a multicultural societyeven though Malaysia is not the only country that has multiple races. Therefore,multiculturalism can be defined that all cultural group are equally importantand none of them can be ignored or regarded as unimportant as there are differentcultural group in Malaysia (Collins 2017). Overthe years, the important of multiculturalism have been ignored.
However, multiculturalismare now acknowledged as essential to become good public relations practices inMalaysia. PR practitionerswho wish to build positive and strong relationships in our country need to beaware of increasing diversities and to deal with them effectively. PRpractitioners responsibilities to know the complexity of the environment andunderstand different cultural values, attitudes and lifestyles among the peoplein the country (Silvia Ravazzani 2006, 11). Different values and way oflifestyle is change from one generation to another generation. This means thatdifferent ethnic group has their own style of communication and belief thatsupporting their daily life and activities. In this type of nation background,the way that Public Relations in Malaysia carry out their role is verydifferent compare with the countries that has a lesser ethnic group. Hence, wehave to determine language impacts on PR practitioners and to find out the roleof cultural sensitivity skills on PR practice.
Intoday’s era, multilingualism playing an important role on PR practitioners.Knowing a multi- language other than mother-tongue language has evolved to beextremely beneficial for the PR practitioners in Malaysia. Whether viewed fromthe financial or social aspect, being able to communicate in a multi- languagehelps to make ‘real’ connection with people and build a mutual understanding ofthe languages communication among people.
It means that learningmulti- language can make the individual employment opportunities to become morehigher. Aswe know most of the companies are looking for individuals are own with multi-languageskills except single language. Thisis due to multi-languages will help an individual become a successful PRpractitioners in their workplace as multi-languages can improve individualperformance and customer relationship.
Furthermore, learning a multi-languageis that the knowledge of a multi- language which can enhances cognitive andanalytical abilities. As learning other culture language is tough and involvesa lot of mental exercise. Therefore, it may improve individual personality andincreases sense of self-worth. PR practitioners who are the one alwaysassociated with social services and work with different diversity group must beable to speak multi-language. It is to ensure that PR practitioners cancommunicate and serve people better (Paul 2016). Theidea behind cultural sensitivity is very direct. Cultural sensitivity refers toa set of skills that allows people to learn about and understand people culturalbackground which is not same with us. Most countries have multicultural issues.
Understanding cultural sensitivity is quite important. Therefore, there is aneed for PR practitioners to understand the religions such as Islam,Christianity and Hinduism that are practiced in Malaysia. For example, whenMalaysia launched Proton Iswara that is a Hindu term, ‘iswara’ also meansbutterfly. It has a great value for Malaysian people.
Another example is ProtonSaga (the first edition), saga is a type of fruit which is red and bright inMalaysia. But came to Europe, it cannot use Proton Saga because Saga has a badconnotation for European cultures. Then, it changed the name to Proton Personaas Persona is about personality or impression. From the example above, it is PRresponsibility to do research and consult the matter (Jawad & Mustafa2010).