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Sarawak hotels say no such thing as ‘tudung’ ban

MAH Sarawak president Mohamad Ibrahim Nordin said it was also up to the hotel employees to decide on whether they would wear the headscarf while working. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
MAH Sarawak president Mohamad Ibrahim Nordin said it was also up to the hotel employees to decide on whether they would wear the headscarf while working. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — There is no ban against the use of “tudung” or headscarves by female Muslim employees of hotels in Sarawak, a hotel association’s Sarawak branch has said.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Sarawak president Mohamad Ibrahim Nordin said there is no discrimination against hotel employees in Sarawak, noting that hotels operators there have never reprimanded those wearing the headscarf.

He said it was also up to the hotel employees to decide on whether they would wear the headscarf while working.

“Based on my understanding, the hotel sector in the state does not face any issue over this ban on wearing headscarves or any other issue involving discrimination of workers,” he was quoted saying by local daily The Borneo Post.

He said a ban on headscarves would run contrary to Sarawak’s cultures, religions and traditions.

According to The Borneo Post, MAH Sarawak’s 82 members include seven five-star hotels and eight four-star hotels, while the rest ranged between one-star to three-star.

He was responding to Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot’s statement that labour laws would be changed to tackle workplace discrimination following a controversy over a ban on the use of headscarves within the hotel industry.

Yesterday, Riot said his ministry is finalising a draft to amend the Employment Act 1955 to address workplace discrimination.

He said the Labour Department of peninsular Malaysia had carried out checks on 74 hotels with four and five-star ratings in several states and the Klang Valley since last November, noting that 13 hotels were found to have a ban on tudung during working hours and that their managements subsequently agreed to cancel the policy after discussions with the Labour Department.

He said the MAH had told the Labour Department that the policy to disallow frontline hotel employees from wearing tudung was a decision at the discretion of hotel managements.

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