PETALING JAYA: The Human Resources Ministry is finalising the draft to amend the Employment Act 1955 to address discrimination at the workplace.
This follows the ban on Muslim female frontline staff in the hotel industry from donning the hijab or headscarves.
Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot said in a statement that the decision came after a discussion with various ministries and agencies last year, which felt the need to introduce new amendments to the Act.
“The draft to the amendments will be looked into together with other agencies,” he said.
Among the ministries and agencies involved were Tourism and Culture Ministry, Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, Malaysian Islamic Development Department, Malaysian Labour Centre of the Union Network International, Malaysian Trade Union Congress and the Malaysian Employers Federation.
Riot said the Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia had conducted checks on 74 hotels with four and five-star ratings in states such as Selangor, Pahang, Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya since November last year to identify potential elements of discrimination.
“We found that 13 hotels practised the tudung ban policy, while 61 others did not set any form of policy that prohibits employees from wearing headscarves at work.
“The department then had a discussion with the hotel managements and they have agreed to cancel the policy,” he said.
Riot said the department also received feedback from the Malaysian Association of Hotels that the decision to impose the policy to prohibit frontline staff from wearing headscarves was up to the respective hotel managements.
“The ministry would like to urge employers, especially those in the hotel industry, to give their commitment and cooperation on efforts to maintain workplace harmony.
“This commitment needs everyone’s cooperation to ensure that the rights of the employees are respected,” said Riot.