Malaysia’s tourism minister on Thursday warned hotels that allegedly ban women from wearing hijabs while working the front desk to immediately drop the policy, which has caused an uproar.
The matter came to light after the Union Network International-Malaysia Labor Center (UNI-MLC) earlier this month revealed it had received complaints from female hotel employees who said they had been prohibited from wearing headscarves while manning the front desk.
According to UNI-MLC, students in hospitality and tourism courses had also been told to remove their hijabs during internships or face not being hired after finishing.
“To any hotels that made these conditions, they should revoke them or face action by us,” Tourism Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz told journalists.
The policy, Nazri said, affects workers from other faiths as well.
“This is not just about Muslims. The Punjabis and Sikhs wear turbans. This is unconstitutional,” he said.
Malaysia is home to about 19.5 million Muslims, who make up approximately 60 percent of the country’s 32 million people. Buddhists, Hindus and Christians account for most of the rest.
On Wednesday, Malaysian Housing, Local Government and Urban Well-being Minister Noh Omar ordered local councils to take action against hotel operators who bar their Muslim staff from wearing headscarves.
“I am ordering all local authorities responsible for issuing such hotel licenses, if the complaints received are true, I recommend they withdraw licenses issued,” he said, adding hotel licenses come under the jurisdiction of local councils.
Full story: BenarNews
Kuala Lumpur. Fairuz Mazlan in Penang and Hadi Azmi contributed to this report.
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