In Malaysia, turbaned Sikhs also face hotel frontdesk discrimination


By Darshan Singh | Berita Daily

The hotel industry in Malaysia has recently come under the spotlight on their policy of not allowing Muslim female employees to wear headscarves while at work, especially when performing frontline duties.

It’s a blessing that this discriminatory and unconstitutional policy is now exposed, as the Sikhs has continued to face this problem all the while. You don’t find any turbaned Sikh performing customer facing duties in hotels.

The headscarf or turban ban imposed by the hotel industry is rather disappointing given the sector’s primary role in depicting our diversity to people from around the world, entrusted to promote the ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ slogan.

The hospitality industry provides first-hand experience into local cultural norms, heritage and lifestyle and that’s the niche. In this regard, the hotel industry should leverage and promote rich cultural diversity as its business competitive edge.

Unfortunately this policy which demonstrates lack of appreciation of Malaysia’s rich heritage, also portrays disrespect for basic human rights, resulting in unfair oppression on the grounds of discharging one’s religious obligations.

The consequences of which impose implications on the socioeconomic livelihood by limiting the availability of job opportunities for the masses.

Recent statement made by the chairman of Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) that “This policy is practiced in international hotel chains that use the same global standard operating procedure on uniforms in all hotel chains in their chain globally,” is unacceptable as it is incumbent on international business owners to assimilate local cultural and religious requirement.

As such the Malaysia Consumers Movement (MCM) calls on our government to engage the hotel operators and resolve this issue. Any form of discriminatory and unconstitutional practice should not be condoned, and if persists, it is only fair that operating licences are revoked.

Darshan Singh Dhillon is the president of Malaysia Consumers Movement (MCM)

[The letter first appeared at Berita Daily]


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Aussie Sikh boy wins right to wear turban at Christian school (Asia Samachar, 19 Sept 2017)


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  1. Gur Fateh…
    I’ve been in hotel industry for more than 18 years. Has worked in 3, up to 5 star hotel. 6 diffrent properties (hotel). 4 international chain hotel and 2 stand alone hotel. Currently i’m attach with International chain hotel which the owner is local Malaysian. Never ever heard that turban Sikh are not allowed to work front line. I believe before Sardar Darshan Singh wrote this statement, he did not investigate to the details. Firstly, find out how many Sikh’s are working in hotel industry? Get the figure. Then, check whether is there any policy stated Sikhs with turban not allowed to work front line. Cut the story short. Get the right info before write. Dont politic this matter for some reason.

  2. There probably is unspoken rule,given that probably few Sikhs have applied in past,as prefered choic of occupation.

    Turbanned Sikhs have been employed and seen on Jet Jet airways, the Indian airlines,Air India,air Canada.

    In one instance,on NORWEGIAN airlines

    Hotel managers galore in india .In UK two hotels have been known to have Sikh managers.

  3. Are there any cases of any turbaned sikhs being denied any front line positions?
    If there are then that perdon should come forward so that the problem can be solved.
    Being quiet is not a solution.
    Gur Fateh