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Urge parent companies to review headscarf ban, group tells hotels

The Malaysian Labour Centre of the Union Network International said hotel employees have complained about discrimination against Muslim front desk workers who were told to remove their headscarves. — Reuters pic
The Malaysian Labour Centre of the Union Network International said hotel employees have complained about discrimination against Muslim front desk workers who were told to remove their headscarves. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — Multinational hotels operating in Malaysia should seek leeway from their international headquarters for local Muslim workers to don their headscarves at work, said the Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet).

Commenting on the Malaysian Association of Hotels’ (MAH) enforcement of the global practice of prohibiting the headscarves at work, the group also said attire was an individual’s choice.

It also said hotels should be more flexible in enforcing the rule, and must take note of the local cultural and religious norms.

“Hotel operators need to play their part in promoting the ‘Malaysia, Truly Asia’ slogan. They should protest one-size-fits-all rules that do not take into account local sensitivities, that reeks of discrimination.

“So long as the attire does not hamper an employee from effectively carrying out their jobs, the clothing should not be banned,” the group said in a statement.

The issue arose after the Malaysian Labour Centre of the Union Network International said hotel employees have complained about discrimination against Muslim front desk workers who were told to remove their headscarves.

In response, the MAH reportedly defended the policy by saying it was consistent with  international standards of operation.

The MAH’s Penang chapter said yesterday, however, that it would waive the rule.

Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin has also asked the MAH to justify the rule. 

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