Statement by Hannah Yeoh:
OVER the last few days, much has been said about my decision to cover my head with a selendang during my most recent visit to a mosque in Segambut.
While only a handful of people have criticised my act of covering my head, many others have expressed their support for me. I am issuing this statement to help those who may not know the importance of covering my head in a place of worship.
In addition to mosques, some places of worship also require both men and women to cover their heads, for example a gurdwara. Some churches also require one to cover their head.
The act of covering our heads in the presence of those we revere is done out of respect. It is also an act of modesty. This too applies when we attend a funeral.
As an elected representative for 13 years in multiracial constituencies like Segambut and Subang Jaya, I have always practised this respectfully when I visited my constituents. I will continue to do so in the face of a handful of extreme voices in this land.
We need to stake our claim for a moderate Malaysia. A Malaysia that is home not just for me but for others. Respect those around you and apply kindness to your neighbours.
Selfishness is the recipe for disaster. Let the voices of moderate Malaysians resound loudest in our workplace, our neighbourhoods, our family gatherings, our places of worship and our social media.
Wearing a headscarf in a mosque has not changed my race or religion. It has only further strengthened my faith in upholding one of two greatest commandments in the Bible found in the book of Matthew 22: 36-40 [“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”]
I will continue to wear my selendang appropriately.