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Monday November 26, 2012

Kelantan refuses to budge from unisex hair salon ruling

Unmoved by flak: State Local Government,
Culture and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, at a press conference, holding up The Star which
highlighted the municipal council’s gender-segregation by-laws. Unmoved by flak: State Local Government, Culture and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, at a press conference, holding up The Star which highlighted the municipal council’s gender-segregation by-laws.

KOTA BARU: Kelantan refuses to back down from enforcing its gender-segregation rules for unisex salons where women are prohibited from cutting the hair of men and vice-versa.

State Local Government, Culture and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the by-law was enforced by the Kota Baru Municipal Council in line with the Islamic policies propagated by the PAS government more than 10 years ago.

“It is in line with our government's policy to safeguard women and curb sexual harassment at work places,” he said, adding that the rule applied to all districts in the state.

Takiyuddin, who is PAS assistant secretary-general, cited the Local Government Act 171, Section 107 (sub section 2) and the Local Government Act, which stipulate that licences and permits can only be issued based on the local government's rules and conditions and can be revoked at any time.

As far as the state government was concerned, the ruling for unisex salons was a non-issue, he said at a press conference at the council yesterday.

“But we need to clarify the matter because the media has blown it out of proportion.

“We need to provide the rationale behind the introduction of the by-law,” he said while holding up Friday's copy of The Star.

He said the by-law was introduced in 1991 when the councils froze the issuing of licences and permits to unisex salons state-wide in line with the PAS state government's slogan of “Growing with Islam” that applied to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Takiyuddin said the Kota Baru council decided to include stricter conditions in 1999 after it found salon operators continually violating certain conditions stipulated in their permits.

“It is a known fact that hair salons and unisex establishments are the most convenient places for immoral activities. They provide a cover for men and women to engage in illicit activities.

“If I were Chinese, I will never allow my wife to patronise such salons or even consider allowing my children to work in such places because of their reputation as a hotbed for immoral activities.

“And even a Chinese wife will feel uneasy to allow her husband to go to such places. Frequenting such places will always lead to scandals,” he said.

He said there was nothing wrong for a woman salon worker to provide hairdressing services to a female patron or for a male barber to cut a male customer's hair.

“But when a woman worker gives upper body massages to a male customer, one thing will eventually lead to another, ending with illicit activities,” said Takiyuddin.

He said that in Kuala Lumpur, there were special coaches provided by KTM Komuter and Rapid KL for women.

“My question here is when it comes to salons, why is it a forbidden cut and when it comes to trains, why not call them forbidden coaches ... They are not forbidden, it is just man for man and woman for woman,” he said.

Related Stories:
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BN: We can win Kelantan
Hair-raising time for stylists and salon workers
Rising anxiety over implementation of hudud
Hairstylist moves to Johor to avoid ruling

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