Hotels that ban employees from wearing hijabs should lose their licenses: Noh Omar

IPOH: The licences of hotels who forbid their Muslim employees from wearing hijabs should be withdrawn by the local authorities, said Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar.

"If this is true, then the local authorities as the licensing body should cancel the operating license. As this is against the country's constitution and human rights," he told reporters after visiting a fireman who was injured in the line of duty at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital, here today.

"If it involves international hotels they must be more rational and respect one's rights as done globally. There must be little Napoleons who give out such directives," he added.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir had previously said that there was no issue over such matters.

"It is not our culture to impose such a ban. It is disappointing that such an issue has been raised and the ban is not right.

"Those responsible must be living in a cocoon ... Malaysia is different from other countries and we cannot impose such directives," he added.

He said so far no reports were received on such a ban imposed in hotels in the state.

The ban drew criticisms from various quarters when Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) president Samuel Cheah Swee Hee reportedly said frontline female workers, like receptionists and waitresses, will be prohibited from wearing headscarves, a ruling practised by international hotel chains.

He was also quoted as saying that Muslim staff could either work in none of the frontline areas or, go to hotels that allow Muslim frontline staff to wear the hijab.