Tudung ban on hotel workers a violation of women’s rights, says minister

Source: Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 16 — The tudung (headscarf) ban on Muslim hotel staff is a violation of women’s rights, says Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim.

She said the move was against the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

“I was shocked with the news (on the tudung ban), This (wearing tudung) is a woman’s right. This issue has never cropped up before. Why has it become an issue in our country now?” she said to reporters after opening the forum on ‘Legal Counsel For Children: Their Right To Be Represented’, here, today.

Recently, the Malaysian Labour Centre of the Union Network International (Uni-MLC) claimed that many Muslim female hotel employees had complained about the discriminatory practice of being told to remove their headscarves.

The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MSH) chairman Samuel Cheah Swee Hee then reportedly said that the policy was practised by the international hotel chains that used the same standard operating procedure on uniforms globally.

On the issue, Rohani also welcomed and appreciated the statement by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz who regarded the tudung ban as discriminatory and insensitive.

Meanwhile, Rohani said children drawn into cases involving the family law should get legal representation by counsel in order to safeguard their welfare and for their voice to be heard.

She said in divorce cases in court, couples had their respective counsel to fight for their rights and welfare but the children had no counsel to voice out their views and rights.

Rohani said the ministry had organised today’s forum in collaboration with Lawyers Friends for Life to discuss the importance of counsel to represent children in such cases, besides seeking a suitable mechanism which could protect their rights.

She said New Zealand was among countries where children were represented by counsel.