21 December 2017
It has recently emerged that frontline employees at five-star international hotels in Malaysia are not permitted to wear religious symbols while at work. In practice, such a policy has disproportionately restricted the right of Muslim women working at those hotels to wear the tudung (headscarf). As a result, this policy has been framed as an anti-tudung and thus, anti-Muslim one.
It is hardly surprising that this issue has been pushed to the centre of Malaysian political discourse. Irrespective of their racial and religious affiliations, political parties from both the ruling coalition and the opposition have issued frequent condemnations of this policy. Yet, there is also considerable nuance between specific stances they take – a fact made clear by the language they use to criticise hotels implementing this policy.
… Prashant Waikar and Rashaad Ali are Research Analysts with the Malaysia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 21/12/2017