KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Siti Hasmah Ali, the wife of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, today refused to wade into the ongoing debate on the wearing of tudung, but revealed that her husband does not like her wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf.
“I think you are asking the wrong person as I don’t wear the tudung,” she said when asked for her comments on the controversy involving a hoteliers association’s policy to forbid frontdesk staff from wearing the hijab.
“If we want to wear the tudung, we have to ask permission from our husbands,” she added.
She said on her return from Mecca, she had wanted to wear the tudung.
“So I wore the tudung. He just looked away dissatisfied,” said Siti Hasmah on the sideline of a symposium on women.
Siti Hasmah said hotel staff should adhere to rules banning the tudung.
“These hotels have their rules and regulations as well. They want to safeguard their business just like other places as well, it really depends if you want the job or not,” she said.
She said the presence of a hotel worker in hijab might create discomfort to European tourists due to their experience involving Muslims there.
“Maybe something that might have happened to them in connection with those who wear the tudung, especially those from Europe. Just look at France.”
The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) came under criticism recently for defending a policy of barring frontline staff from donning the tudung.
Government and opposition leaders as well as human rights activists have also spoken out against the policy.