Starbucks Malaysia Launches Its First 'Sign Language Branch' in Kuching
BY: Michelle Liew
Starbucks Malaysia has marked another milestone by launching its latest branch at Vivacity Megamall, Kuching, with the implementation of sign language as a way to communicate.
Dedicated to offering employment and development opportunities to the hearing impaired and fostering meaningful relationships between partners and customers, it is the first "sign language branch" of the coffee chain in the Borneo region and the third after Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
Berjaya Food Bhd Chief Executive Officer and Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Managing Director Datuk Sydney Quays said the company intends to expand the initiative in every state.
"Apart from providing jobs to the hearing-impaired community, we also aim to broaden public awareness and build confidence among them because sometimes they are embarrassed to step forward because of the disability," he said at a press conference after the inauguration of the branch which also saw the presence of Minister of Women, Children and Community Wellbeing Sarawak Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
The support and commitment from the state government and the Sarawak Association of the Deaf (SSD) has facilitated the process of opening the branch here, he said.
Quays also said that Starbucks Malaysia is also working with SSD to provide professional Malaysian sign language interpreting services and organize activities at the branch.
He said this will provide a platform for the community to come together and connect with each other. It has also received overwhelming response from customers since its pre-launch on July 27.
The coffee chain has so far hired 20 hearing-impaired staff for three "sign language branches" with eight of them in Vivacity Megamall branches.
Earlier, Fatimah in her opening speech said the branch "empowers" the hearing-impaired community and was grateful that corporate bodies like Starbucks Malaysia "are full of enthusiasm with the state government to make a difference to the community."