PUTRAJAYA: Three major associations in the hotel industry have signed a pledge with the Human Resources Ministry to not implement any policies barring Muslim women staff from wearing tudung (headscarves) at the workplace.
Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Muttalib said the associations are the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (MAHO) and Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA).
He said these three associations represent more than 3,000 hotels operating throughout the country, including in Sabah and Sarawak.
"The ministry is grateful for the associations' willingness to find an amicable solution to the issue and ensure that workers' rights are not discriminated against.
"Through this pledge, it is hoped that hotels under these associations will comply with the agreement. We hope the 'no tudung' issue does not arise again," he said.
Ismail was speaking at a press conference after witnessing the signing of the pledge between the Labour Department and the three associations.
The Labour Department was represented by its director-general Datuk Mohd Jeffrey Joakim MAH was represented by its president Cheah Swee Hee, Shaharuddin M Saaid represented the MAHO while MYBAH was represented by Mohamed Zamri Abd Rashid.
Ismail said the government will not compromise on any issues which discriminate employees and their rights.
"The department had previously held meetings with the Union Network International-Malaysia Labour Centre (UNI-MLC) and MAH on Jan 17 on the prohibition of wearing tudung in the hotel industry.
"The meeting had decided that an Implementation and Monitoring Action Committee will established at the ministry level to deal with issues of discrimination at the workplace.
"This proves the government's commitment to ensure industrial harmony continues to be preserved in the country," he added.
Since Dec last year, the ministry had conducted checks on more than 600 hotels in the country to ensure workers are not faced with any kind of discrimination.
"Statutory checks on employers in the hotel industry will be further improved from time to time.
"This is to make sure the 'no tudung' policy is not observed by employers," he said.
Ismail said, in addition, the Labour Department will also conduct dialogue sessions with human resource managers in the hotel industry throughout the country.
"This is to explain to them the issue of workers' rights and secure their commitment to not impose the 'no tudung' policy as well as other discriminatory aspects laid out in their standard operating procedure (SOP)," he added.
The banning of the tudung or headscarf was a source a dispute between various parties when the issue came to light following a report made by the Malaysian Employers Federation last year, which had received complaints from hotel workers.