Discrimination has no place in Singapore society: President Halimah

President Halimah Yacob viewing a product by Arts@Metta at i’mable Collective’s gift market at the Enabling Village in Lengkok Bahru on Nov 23, 2019.
President Halimah Yacob viewing a product by Arts@Metta at i’mable Collective’s gift market at the Enabling Village in Lengkok Bahru on Nov 23, 2019.PHOTO: SG ENABLE

SINGAPORE - In strong terms, President Halimah Yacob has made clear there is no place for discrimination of any form and against anyone in Singapore.

She said discrimination in the workplace is particularly disturbing during the Covid-19 pandemic as such incidents will add to the anxiety of people already grappling with concerns over their jobs and livelihoods.

"People should be assessed solely on their merits and their ability to do a job and nothing else," she said in a Facebook post on Thursday (Aug 20).

She is the latest leader to weigh in on an incident last month in which a 20-year-old Malay woman was told by Tangs department store to remove her hijab at work, after reporters asked her about the case during a visit to non-profit group AMP in Pasir Ris.

Madam Halimah said that Tangs has since agreed to remove such restrictions and will allow the hijab to be worn at work.

Welcoming the move, she said: "Diversity is our strength and our society has already embraced it. I hope that employers too will fully embrace diversity at the workplace and do their part to uphold the values of a fair and open society."

Ms Nurin Jazlina Mahbob, 20, a part-time handbag promoter working at a pop-up booth on the second floor of Tangs, said she was asked by staff of the department store to remove her head scarf just minutes into her first day on the job.

The incident on July 29 was widely shared after Ms Jazlina's employer, who had rented the booth at Tangs, posted about it on Instagram.

 

On Wednesday, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said in a Facebook post: "Religious attire should generally be allowed at workplaces, unless employers have uniform, or dress code requirements which are suited to the nature of their work, or for operational and safety reasons."