Riot: 13 hotels found to have headscarf ban for frontline staff


PUTRAJAYA: Thirteen hotels had adopted the no-headscarf policy for frontline staff during working hours, Human Resources Minister Richard Riot Jaem said today.

He said this was revealed when the ministry, through the Labour Department, carried out inspections and investigations on 74 four-star and five-star hotels in Pahang, Johor, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya from last November.

He said the remaining 61 did not set any policy on the matter.

Riot said the department had held discussions with the managements of the hotels concerned and they had basically agreed to lift the ban.

”For example, in Johor, there are four hotels that prohibit the wearing of headscarves.

“After further discussion, they gave verbal and written agreements to lift the ban,” he said in a statement here today.

He said the Labour Department had issued letters to two associations and 10 unions from the hotel sector on Dec 18 last year to seek their written opinions on the issue.

Riot said the Malaysian Association of Hotels, in its response to the letter, said the policy of prohibiting employees from wearing headscarves depended on the management of the respective hotels.

As such, the ministry is finalising a proposed draft of the amendment of the Employment Act 1955 to address the issue of workplace discrimination.

Riot said the proposal to amend the act was made following a discussion with relevant ministries and other parties on Dec 5 last year.

The discussion included the tourism and culture ministry, the women, family and community development ministry, the Islamic Development Department and the Malaysian Employers Federation.

”The draft amendment to the law will be refined soon with several other agencies involved.”

Riot reiterated his call to employers, especially hotel operators nationwide, to give their commitment and cooperation in all government efforts to maintain harmony within the workplace.

As such, the minister said employers should always respect their workers’ rights not only in terms of improving compliance with existing labour laws in the country, but also respecting the rights of individuals as stipulated under Article 8 (2) of the Federal Constitution.

The Federal Constitution prohibits any form of discrimination against citizens on the grounds of religion, race and descent, he added.