KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — Prohibiting Muslim frontline staff from wearing the “tudung” (headscarf) is blatant discrimination and unconstitutional, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today.
He also labelled the move as “imbecilic” and insensitive to local culture and the people, as 60 per cent of the population professes Islam.
“This is a type of discrimination, because in our Constitution, it is clearly stated that there should not be any discrimination regardless of any reasons, be it race or religion,” Nazri said in a press conference in Parliament here.
“To me, whoever who wants to defend (non-’tudung’ practice in hotels), that this is an SOP, I feel they are imbecilic, especially if they are Malaysian citizens. Firstly what they should do, they should protest.
“This is our culture (‘tudung’-wearing) in Malaysia. So is being naked better than us wearing tudung at the counter?” a clearly incensed Nazri asked.
The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chairman Samuel Cheah Swee Hee was reported by The Star as saying that the policy is practised in international hotel chains that use the same standard operating procedure on uniforms globally, adding that Muslim staff could either work in non-frontline areas or go to hotels that allow Muslim frontline staff to wear the tudung.
The MAH Penang chapter president Khoo Boo Lim yesterday said no hotels in the state employed such a policy.
Nazri today also demanded that MAH show him the alleged international hotel guidelines that ban frontline workers from wearing headscarves.