DR Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali wanted to wear the hijab, but Dr Mahathir Mohamad forbade it, the former prime minister’s wife revealed today.
She said she wanted to do so when she returned from Mecca, but the former prime minister did not like it.
“My husband forbids me from wearing tudung. Before one wears tudung, she must ask for her husband’s permission.
“I wanted to ambil berkat (receive blessings by wearing tudung) after I returned from Mecca. So I wore tudung (but) he turned his face away,” she reportedly said.
Dr Siti Hasmah said, however, whether one should wear a hijab depends if the person wants a job in the hotel industry, which has its own rules and regulations.
Controversy erupted when the Union Network International-Malaysia Labour Centre (Uni-MLC) highlighted complaints from Muslim female hotel employees that they were not allowed to wear the hijab at work.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) president Samuel Cheah defended the ban as a long-standing policy in international hotel chains.
This did not stop various quarters, including Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz, from training their guns on the ban.
PROFESSIONALISM MORE IMPORTANT
MEANWHILE, according to Malaysiakini:
Quizzed further on the matter, Siti Hasmah (centre in photo) said it all depends on whether a person wants the job or otherwise, and pointed out how hotels have their own rules and regulations.
“Hotels, too, want to safeguard their business […] There are places for women who wear tudung.
“In hotels, there are many tourists, maybe some will feel different because something had occurred in their country involving those who wear tudung, especially in Europe. Just look at France,” she said.
Bersatu women’s wing chief Rina Harun, who was also present, said the most important thing for employees is to practice professionalism.
“That should be prioritised as opposed to whether she wears tudung or otherwise,” she added.
The Union Network International-Malaysia Labour Centre (Uni-MLC) had highlighted complaints received from Muslim female hotel employees that their management does not allow them to wear headscarves at work.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) president Samuel Cheah was quoted as stating that the uniform policy has been practised in international hotel chains for a long time.
The controversial ban had courted criticism from various quarters, including politicians and government leaders.
A Muslim consumers association even called on Muslims to boycott hotels which prohibit its staff from wearing headscarves.
– THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT