KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — A PAS leader has complained of the lack of opposition against the headscarves ban for some female workers in the hotel industry, on the heels of heated criticisms against Muslim-only laundrettes in the country.
The party’s information chief Nasrudin Hassan had also accused the relative silence as an alleged form of “Islamophobia”, defined as the fear or prejudice against Islam or Muslims.
“When the laundrette placed a sign that says ‘Muslim only’ the issue solicited a furious response from all walks of life nationwide,” the Temerloh MP said in a statement.
In September, two laundromats in Johor and Perlis were revealed to practise Muslim-only policy. Both outlets reversed its restriction following decrees by their respective Rulers.
“But just recently the issue of the headscarf ban in international hotels for women workers surfaced… but unfortunately the woman who wanted to practise her religion failed to get support nor did anyone speak up against the hotels for such discrimination.
“Not only does this show double standard but exposed their deeply ingrained Islamophobia even if they try to mask it,” the PAS leader added.
The Malaysian Labour Centre of the Union Network International recently said hotel employees had complained about discrimination against Muslim front desk workers who were told to remove their headscarves.
The ban had caused uproar among some Islamist groups and opposition party PAS, since it was highlighted last week.
In response, Malaysian Association of Hotels had reportedly defended the policy, saying that it is in accordance to international standards of operation.
Meanwhile, PAS Youth wing had labelled the policy as “primitive” and “typical”.
The wing’s information chief Hishammuddin Abdul Karim said allowing female hotel workers to wear headscarves during work could help set an example for the industry and boost business.
“We could actually become a pioneer and earn the respect of others… this is escpecially true as women and Muslims now form the world’s biggest population,” Hishammuddin said in a separate statement.
The wing also viewed the industry’s no-headscarves policy as a form of discrimination and Islamophobia.
“Even though they deny it is discrimination or Islamophobia that is actually the reality that cannot be hidden,” Hishammuddin said.