Wearing of tudung at work: NSP calls for official survey

SINGAPORE - The National Solidarity Party (NSP) on Thursday said it supports the wearing of the Muslim headscarf in all places of work and study, and called for the Government to commission an official survey on the issue.

This could gauge how other communities feel about Muslim women donning the hijab in public sector professions such as nursing and the police force, where it is prohibited. It would also provide empirical evidence to back any decision on the matter, said the NSP's secretary-general Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss in a media statement.

Acknowledging the Government's concern about the issue's impact on social harmony, she expressed worry that prohibiting the hijab in certain public sector professions might restrict job opportunities for some Muslim women.

A similar concern about discrimination was raised by the Suara Musyawarah committee, tasked to collect feedback on Malay-Muslim community concerns, in its report in July.

In September, a lecturer asked at a forum why nurses were barred from wearing the tudung, sparking a debate that has since seen ministers, MPs, the Workers' Party and the former and current muftis weighing in.

On Thursday, the NSP said it agrees with Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim that constructive dialogue is the best way forward. Besides Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles, the Government should explore other avenues to engage the Malay-Muslim community, it said.


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