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Thursday November 29, 2012

Free haircut to protest Kelantan's gender policy

Choon: ‘Hair salons now are like boutiques.’ Choon: ‘Hair salons now are like boutiques.’

KUALA LUMPUR: A hairstylist should be respected like any other professional occupation. Celebrity hairstylist Raymond Choon, 38, said it was not right for the Kelantan state government to penalise female hairstylists for cutting their male customers' hair.

He said the industry had come a long way from the dingy environment of hair salons in the 1980s. Hair salons now are like boutiques, no different from those selling designer labels.

“For people to look presentable and to project a good image, their hairstyle has to be a part of that. For us, a good hairstyle is as important as carrying a branded handbag,” he said.

In a show of protest over the Kota Baru local council ruling which has seen several hair salons getting compounded, Choon will be providing free haircuts in his salon for one hour today.

At the Raymond Choon Hair Salon on Level 2, The Gardens Mall in MidValley City, the public can get free haircuts or wash and blowdry services from 3pm to 4pm.

“I want to show people that we are a respected profession. Many of our hairstylists are famous in the South-East Asian region and even as far as Hong Kong. Having this kind of ruling is just embarrassing to the country,” he said.

Choon has styled the locks of Hong Kong celebrities, including Bernice Liu and Yumiko Cheng.

Meanwhile, in Kota Baru, the hair-cutting issue reached a stalemate after the Kelantan PAS-led government decided to continue educating non-Muslims on the finer aspects of the law.

While many pressure groups were waiting for a decision to be made by the government on the laws that had sparked an uproar among non-Muslims, State Local Government, Culture and Tourism committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan told reporters, after the exco meeting chaired by Nik Abdul Aziz on Wednesday, that he would arrange a meeting with the State Chinese Chamber of Commerce members and other major Chinese associations to have a dialogue on the issue.

“After meeting the Chinese community, I will then bring it before the exco to decide on the appeal made by them, including the National PAS Supporters Congress that wanted non-Muslims to be excluded from the by-laws,” he said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Sankara Nair had offered to challenge the Kota Baru Municipal Council's gender policy on hair-cutting on a pro bono basis as he felt the ruling was unfair to non-Muslims.

Sankara, who was Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's defence lawyer in the latter's sodomy trials, said he was compelled to act on behalf of the affected hair salons as a matter of principle.

“There is too much political wrangling going on and no one has come out to help the salon owners. The by-law is unfair; you cannot impose Islamic rules and laws on non-Muslims,” he said.

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