A part-time promoter was allegedly told by Tangs department store to immediately remove her hijab at work.
Responding to the incident, Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad said that policies and practices at workplaces should include inclusivity.
Workplaces are “an important part of the common space where people interact and work with one another regardless of cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds”, Mr Zaqy said.
Unless employers have uniform, or dress code requirements which are suited to the nature of their work, or for operational and safety reasons, religious attire should be allowed at workplaces, he added.
RECRUITMENT SHOULD BE BASED ON MERIT
“The Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) makes it clear that recruitment and hiring are to be based on merit and the ability to perform the job,” Mr Zaqy pointed out.
President Halimah made the same point when she was asked by reporters about the case.
People should be assessed solely on their merits and their ability to do a job and nothing else, she said.
It deprives the affected person from earning a living. And during this COVID-19 period when people are concerned about their jobs, such discrimination exacerbates anxieties and makes people feel threatened, she added.
Weighing in on the matter, Mr Amrin Amin said that discrimination can work stealthily. When certain questionable practices come to light, the official response may differ markedly from actual practices on the ground.
Frank conversations on race must be coupled with stern action against clear breaches to foster a culture of respect for diversity, Mr Amrin said.
DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH
Diversity is our strength. Our society has already embraced it, said President Halimah.
President Halimah expressed the hope that employers too would fully embrace diversity at the workplace and do their part to uphold the values of a fair and just society.
Since then, Tangs has said that it intends to allow all employees including front liners to wear religious headgear while working.
If you have experienced discrimination at the workplace relating to age, gender, race, religion, language, marital status and family responsibility or disability. Job applicants or employees can report unfair job advertisements, workplace practices or workplace harassment by writing to TAFEP.