Use legitimate ways to push hijab issue: MP Zaqy Mohamad

The way in which some have tried to push for the wearing of the Muslim headscarf in the workplace was criticised by Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad on Tuesday.

His comments came after an online petition was posted by an anonymous person on Oct 12 on campaigning site avaaz.org. It aimed to garner 20,000 signatures, but received only 12,405 before being taken down recently.

Mr Zaqy expressed concern at how the petition involved astro-turfing, in which fake e-mail addresses can be used to sign up for these causes and make the petition seem like it has more traction than it actually has. Legitimate and constructive avenues should be pursued instead, he added.

Referring to articles this week by The New Paper and Berita Harian on the issue, he wrote on his Facebook page: "It is unfortunate that the petition is now withdrawn under the spotlight. The initiator has not identified himself or herself. So no one knows who initiated it, or whether the response is real."

Mr Zaqy pointed to the community-led Suara Musyawarah discussions that canvassed the views of the Malay/Muslim community as well as forums with ministers and MPs, and said such concerns as the wearing of the headscarf should be tackled "in constructive ways, just as we have done in the past".