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“Mat Salleh” Teachers Are Getting Paid Way More Than Local Educators, Netizens Say It’s Not Fair

“Mat Salleh” Teachers Are Getting Paid Way More Than Local Educators, Netizens Say It’s Not Fair

White expat teachers were allegedly paid six times more than local teachers at Malaysian international schools.

Anne Dorall

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Is a person’s nationality or skin colour a reason to be paid any more or any less at the same job?

You may be quick to say absolutely not! but it seems that unfair salaries is still a reality in Malaysia.

Recently, Malaysian Twitter was abuzz with conversation surround how ethnically white foreign teachers from Western countries such as the USA are supposedly baking the big bucks at Malaysian international schools.

Local Malaysian teachers employed at such schools, however, are not on the same pay grade and do not receive the same kind of benefits – despite doing the same job of being a teacher.

Responding to questions of why private schools are so expensive, yet private school teachers are not paid very well, Twitter user Iqbal claims it’s because most of the money goes to foreign teachers.

He said that international schools tend to use their foreign teachers as an advertisement and representative of their “international education” for students.

Apparently, “expat teachers” can earn a basic pay of $3k-$5k USD (RM12,650 – RM21,000) in addition to fully paid lodging and expenses.

A local Malaysian teacher employed at the same international school might only be paid the average wage of RM2.5k-RM5k a month.

Teachers were quick to agree with the disparity, simply because they were local Malaysians.

A netizen even noted that when she applied as a teacher at a private school, she only received an offer of RM2.5k while other “expat teachers” who were wives of expat businessmen without any actual teaching background were earning almost six times her offer!

Many noted that having “white” teachers as part of their education staff is merely a marketing strategy.

Same across the board

Other netizens were quick to point out that this sort of disparity does not only exist within the education industry.

Many Malaysians still feel as if employers can’t seem to separate skin colour and job competency– let’s hope all our industries can provide fairer job opportunities for everyone.


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