PETALING JAYA: The labour department under the human resources ministry has begun investigating international hotels following allegations that some are barring female Muslim staff from wearing the tudung.
Its deputy director-general Paeza Rosdi said the operation began with checks at seven hotels in Putrajaya last Tuesday. He added that hotels in Kedah, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor will be called on soon.
“We are sending two department officers to each hotel, with investigations conducted by interviewing workers and the relevant hotel’s management to get their views on the prohibition on staff wearing the tudung,” he said.
He said it was found that the hotels in Putrajaya did not impose any such restriction.
“Instead, we found that the hotels had prepared suitable headscarves to complement the uniforms of the workers,” he was reported as saying by Utusan Malaysia after a function in Kuala Lumpur.
Earlier this month, the Malaysian Labour Centre of the Union Network International (Uni-MLC) had reported of complaints made by female employees that certain hotels were barring them from wearing the tudung.
It had urged human resource minister Richard Riot to address the issue so as to prevent discrimination against Muslim women.
Paeza said the labour department only found out about the allegations following media reports on the matter and there had been no formal complaints lodged before that.
“We asked our offices in every state and none of them had received any complaint on the matter.
“We also contacted Uni-MLC to get details on the 16 hotels alleged to have imposed the restriction, but have not received any feedback,” he said.
On Nov 7, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) director Shamsuddin Bardan was reported as saying that companies that practised such a policy should resolve the issue in consultation with their workers.
He suggested the introduction of a dress code that would take into account the Muslim women’s right to wear the headscarf.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chairman Samuel Cheah Swee Hee had reportedly said that prohibiting front-line staff from wearing headscarves was an international practice and not meant to be discriminatory.