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Cenbet: Hotels’ headscarf ban same as govt offices’ dress code

 | November 14, 2017

Cenbet co-president Gan Ping Sieu says what one wears is a personal choice and should embrace the diversity of our plural society.


PETALING JAYA: The Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) has called for local hotels to embrace diversity, following the ban on the use of headscarves (hijab) imposed on its employees.

Calling what one decides to wear a personal choice, Cenbet co-president Gan Ping Sieu also said such a rule is no different to government agencies and their moral policing on people who visit their offices.

“Embracing diversity can go a long way in building the much-needed bridges in a society riven by radicalised elements.

“Therefore, these multinational companies imposing dress codes that are insensitive to local settings are no different to civil servants who try to impose their personal values on the public’s dress code,” Gan said in a statement released by Cenbet today.

He added that Cenbet supports the call for the ban on headscarves for hotel employees to be waived because the hospitality industry should reflect the country’s diversity.

“On that note, the local management of international hotel chains should request their headquarters to waive the ban on frontline female Muslim staff from wearing the headscarf.

“Islam is a major religion in this country and it makes no sense to ban the headscarf,” he said.

He added that the diversity of races, religions and cultures in this country has been a major draw for foreign tourists over the years, so it did not justify the need to impose such a condition here.

“Just because the rule has been in place for a long time does not make it right. They should consider the wider context of plural Malaysia that celebrates diversity.

“Hotel operators need to play their part in promoting the ‘Malaysia, Truly Asia’ slogan,” Gan said.

Cenbet called for international hotels to take into account local sensitivities.

“Hence, the management for these hotels in Malaysia should protest the one-size-fits-all rules that reek of discrimination.

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

With regard to government agencies and its moral policing, Gan said decisions made by civil servants in barring entry to members of the public are often done arbitrarily.

“In public, no one should be told what is proper attire and what is not, so long as it is within the confines of the law,” he said.

He added that such an attitude is not helpful in a plural society, which ought to embrace diversity.


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