Claim that company barred Muslim staff from praying untrue, says ministry

The notice allegedly issued by a factory.

PETALING JAYA: The human resources ministry has denied claims that a company in Klang issued a memo barring its Muslim staff from performing prayers during working hours.

In a statement, the ministry said investigations carried out by the Klang Labour Department found the claims in a memo, which were spread over social media, were baseless.

Earlier today, a spokesman for plastic bag manufacturer Hond Tat Industries Sdn Bhd told FMT the memo barring its Muslim staff from performing prayers during office hours was retracted.

“All the workers were angry,” the spokesman said.

She also said there was a misunderstanding over the memo dated July 30. It had yet to be posted on the company’s whiteboard, she added.

The memo, which was written in English and Malay, had said employees were only allowed to pray during lunch time and those found to be praying during office working hours would be fined RM500.

The ministry said none of the company’s local and foreign workers it randomly interviewed had seen the notice as it was not issued to them.

“The workers interviewed also said the company never gave them any briefing on the issue of prayer times or a change in company policy.

“The workers also said the company gave them the freedom to perform their prayers during working hours and provided prayer rooms around the factory to make it easier for the staff to pray.”

On Fridays, workers are also allowed to pray at the nearby mosque and though only one hour was allocated for prayers, no action was taken against those who were late in returning to work.

According to the ministry, the company’s director, known only as Teo, said she believed the memo was an attempt to sabotage the organisation.

“Teo explained that she never gave any instructions verbally or in writing to bar workers from praying during working hours.

“The company has also made a police report to refute the issue as reported by the media.”

The ministry said it considered the matter resolved and that it was satisfied that there were no restrictions imposed on the workers from performing their prayers.