GE2020: Muslim resident calls out PAP's Jessica Tan for insisting on photo with mother without her headscarf

PHOTO: Facebook/People's Action Party, Twitter/@nothaliza

A Muslim resident in East Coast GRC has called out People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Jessica Tan for asking her mother to take a photo without her headscarf, insisting that she's "pretty already". 

The post by Twitter user Haliza on Tuesday (July 7) described how the situation unfolded.

Haliza wrote: "Jessica tan from east coast grc came over to my house while i was having a meeting and so my mum talked to her. after the talk, she insisted on taking a pic with my mum but my mum declined bc she wasnt wearing her scarf. to which jessica tan replied "No need la pretty already! [sic]"

Haliza's main point of contention was over Tan's perception that the headscarf is "just for beauty purposes", and that even after her mother had declined the photo, Tan had persisted.

She continued: "This politician really thinks that muslim women wear the headscarf just for beauty purposes???? my mum was wearing her baju batik and no scarf, declined to take a picture with her and she insisted??[sic]"

Her tweet received more than 3,000 shares and comments, prompting Tan herself to respond.

In her private reply to Hallza, Tan explained that she didn't realise Haliza's mother was referring to her tudung when she'd requested for the photo, stating that it was an oversight on her part.

Tan wrote: "When she mentioned scarf in my request for a photo, I didn't realise that she was referring to her tudung. It was an oversight and was never meant to be intentional or insensitive."

Tan went on to state that social cohesion is what her team had been advocating for many years.

"Therefore, I truly hope to seek your family's understanding and forgiveness on this oversight," she wrote.

PHOTO: Twitter/@nothaliza

Haliza posted Tan's response on Twitter, with the caption, "I think she has shown accountability to a certain extent," but added, "Do vote wisely this Friday!"

Haliza also published her replies to Tan, in which she stressed that what Tan did was still "not appropriate" and "no means no".

She wrote: "Surely after 3 terms as an MP, you should be very well versed in matters of social cohesion, especially when your own constituency has quite a number of Malay Muslims", adding that "such an oversight is definitely unacceptable".

PAP's team comprising Tan, Heng Swee Keat, Maliki Osman, Cheryl Chan and Tan Kiat How is up against the Workers' Party team of Nicole Seah, Terence Tan, Dylan Ng, Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim and Kenneth Foo for election in East Coast GRC. 

candicecai@asiaone.com