Amendments to Malaysia's Employment Act to address hotels' headscarf ban to be tabled in parliament

Malaysia's parliament will be addressing the issue of female employees being banned from wearing headscarves, at the next sitting from March 5 to April 5. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) - The proposed amendment to Malaysia's Employment Act 1955 to address discrimination in workplaces that ban female staff from wearing headscarves is expected to be tabled at the next parliament sitting from March 5 to April 5.

In November last year (2017), the ban imposed by some hotels on their Muslim frontline staff sparked an uproar in the country.

Human Resources Minister Richard Riot Jaem said the ministry was pursuing a tripartite discussion involving employers, employees and the government to refine the proposed amendments.

"The Human Resources Ministry takes a serious view of the alleged discrimination issues at several hotels in the country," he said in a statement on Saturday (Jan 27).

He said the ministry's checks at 88 hotels in Peninsular Malaysia from December last year (2017) to Jan 26 found 13 of them adopting "standard grooming" practices that prohibited female Muslim workers, especially frontline staff and those attached to the food and beverage outlets, from wearing headscarves.

"The Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia has advised 13 hotels to take corrective action and stop the no-headscarf policy," added Riot.

He said the Malaysian Association of Hotels had given its commitment to urge its members not to adopt any policy that prohibited the use of headscarves among female workers at the workplace.

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