‘Darling, can I advice you something?’ HR Ministry’s tweet to worker complaint draws giggles and flak

The remark on the ministry’s official Twitter account was supposedly in response to a worker’s query on how to lodge a labour complaint against an employer. — Reuters pic
The remark on the ministry’s official Twitter account was supposedly in response to a worker’s query on how to lodge a labour complaint against an employer. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — The Human Resources Ministry’s attempt at being relatable on social media by using the trendy meme “Can I advise you something?” drew some laughs from some Twitter users as well brickbats from others who saw the tweet as unprofessional.

The remark on the ministry’s official Twitter account was supposedly in response to a worker’s query on how to lodge a labour complaint against an employer.

In its tweet, the Human Resources Ministry advised the affected employee to file a report at the Department of Labour. 

“Darling, can I advice [sic] you something? Please go to the nearest @JabatanKerja to logde [sic] report and bring along supporting documents with you ya? Don’t worry, everything will be confidential and we will try our best to assist you.” 

Based on the ministry’s tweet that attached a January 17 post, a member of the public was complaining about his/her employer for extending his/her job scope beyond that of a sales assistant to general work and being ordered to work overtime at the last minute without due recompense. The complainant also seemed to have been denied a pay raise despite initial promises. The last straw appears to be the employer forbidding the worker to resign until a replacement is found.

In the anonymous complaint that was shared on a Twitter account for workplace confessions, the person had also asked if a lawyer was required to file a labour complaint and sought advice on the next action to take.

The tweet by the Human Resources Ministry has been since been retweeted 1,500 times and liked 1,400 times.

Reaction from other Twitter users to the ministry’s statement has been mixed.

Some Twitter users have called out the ministry for what they viewed as unprofessional behaviour.

“As an official government acc, keep the jokes away, please. You may call it relax dude, just kidding. I call it be PROFESSIONAL. Suka sgt diketawakan org, ambik lah,” a user going by the moniker The.Researcher. @The13Researcher wrote.  

Another Twitter user @snapznap shared the same sentiment, saying the ministry should be “apolitical while focusing on rakyat wellbeing”.

Other Twitter users told the ministry that it was part of the government and not the “Opposition” or a “fast food joint”, while one of the Twitter users suggested that this was a situation of humour being used wrongly.

A Twitter user by the name of snowmom using the handle @zam165 asked if this was an official tweet and noting that such a tweet by the ministry’s Twitter account administrator was unsuitable as a public servant cannot be biased.

Ini official tweet ke? Siapa admin ni. Sangat tak sesuai cara awak tweet sbg penjawat awam. Penjawat awam tidak boleh bias kepada mana2 pihak atau situasi,” the Twitter user wrote.

Others meanwhile pointed out the mistake that the ministry had made by using the noun “advice” instead of the verb “advise” in its tweet, with the Twitter account administrator replying that it accepted this and thanking those who had pointed this out.

A Twitter user by the name of Zac Ali Jalil using the handle @fadh_locafreak however defended the ministry’s approach when he asked Malaysians to calm down, saying that it was good to have friendly service from civil servants.

“Guys, chill la. Ni twitter kot. Even kat kaunter pun, lagi best ada kemesraan. Tak la tegang sangat sampai rasa tak selesa..., macam time abam kastam check bagasi atau pegawai cop paspot imigresen tu. 😌.” 

[Translation: “Guys, chill la. This is Twitter. Even at the counters, it’s best to have friendliness. Not so tense until it feels uncomfortable...like the time when the Custom officer checks baggage or officer stamping the passport.”]

A few other Twitter users responded by airing actual labour concerns and seeking advice, such as on employers who impose mandatory leave on employees, or if employees were asked to do work unrelated to the company, or if an employee could be traced despite the confidential report due to the employment conditions where the complainant is the sole employee.

Malay Mail is trying to reach Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran for comment.

The criticism on the Human Resources Ministry’s tweet may be due to the origin of the phrase “Can I advise you something?” which was first highlighted and attributed to Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a purported 2016 conversation recording that was released earlier this month by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission that was linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

The phrase has since turned into a meme and became a trending topic on Twitter for a while. 

It was quickly adopted by social media users and even Najib himself with the phrase sometimes even used against politicians from the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Those who have adopted the phrase for their marketing and publicity efforts on social media include Nando’s, Gong Cha, Lazada, while the Health Ministry’s MyHealth portal’s Twitter account was an early adopter with its January 9 tweet against smokers smoking in front of their spouse and children.

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