PETALING JAYA, Feb 6 — Already among the poorest states in Malaysia, Kelantan’s decision to enforce previously-relaxed gender segregation rules for hair salons could further damage its economy, the local MCA chapter warned today.
Kelantan MCA liaison committee deputy chief Tan Ken Ten said reviving the stringent law “on a macro-scale” would not only encourage workers to leave, but also turn away investors and budding entrepreneurs keen on the business of hair-dressing sector.
“Kelantan will cause more and more talented and skilled workers to flee this east-coast state in search of greener pastures elsewhere,” said Tan, in a statement today.
Tan said the PAS-led state government loosened enforcement of the by-law forbidding female hairdressers to cut the hair of a man and vice versa after a controversy erupted two years where salon owners forced to pay hefty fines for flouting the ruling.
“Now that PAS has recaptured Kelantan, the PAS leadership reveals their claws in subjugating the rakyat by compelling its hardline religious values unto non-Muslims,” said Tan, hitting out at the move a political tactic used to woo non-Muslim voters during Election 2013.
According to a report in the New Straits Times, Kelantan’s Local Government, Housing, Health and Environment Committee chairperson Datuk Abdul Fattah Mahmood had said that the salon operators should be well-versed on the regulation by now.
But Tan today alleged that salon proprietors may have conceded to the regulations “under duress, for fear of their business permit may not be renewed or the enforcement team might conduct more frequent raids”.
Taking the lead on the controversy, MCA had claimed that the PAS administration was impeding on the rights of the non-Muslims in the state by enforcing the law which has adversely affected the livelihood non-Muslim Kelantanese.
“The PAS-helmed Kelantan state government is literally snipping away the income and livelihoods of minorities in Kelantan who are out to earn a decent and honest living,” said Tan.
In 2012, salon owners cried foul over the bylaw, after the Kota Baru Municipal Council (MPKB) fined several salons between RM200 and RM350 for breaching the gender segregation rule.
“The PAS Kelantan government should pay more attention on ensuring clean treated water supply to all its residents or put a stop to unfettered logging at Lojing, Gua Musang which is polluting the river source of water of the orang asli rather than targeting non-Muslim proprietors,” added Tan.