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PUBLISHED: Oct 31, 2014 7:43pm

Female Muslims may lose out in Kelantan’s ‘aurat’ campaign


Hamzah Nazari

Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie said "Operasi Gempur Aurat" will dissuade non-Muslim traders and entrepreneurs from hiring Muslim women.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31, 2014:

Wanita MCA says the Kota Bharu Municipal Council’s (MPKB) “Operasi Gempur Aurat” would only pit non-Muslim employers against Muslim female staff.

The four-month long campaign which began in September aims to ensure that Muslim women, especially among the business community, wear hijab and cover up their “aurat” and dress modestly.

Other working women must not wear tight-fitting clothes.

The wing’s chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie reiterated the party’s concern on the erosion of non-Muslim rights under PAS even as MPKB stated that “Operasi Gempur Aurat” was aimed at compelling the enforcement and compliance of by-laws on female modesty that have been in practice since 1990.

In a statement, Heng also slammed the threat of not renewing business licences and the RM500 fine to be imposed on non-Muslim traders should their female Muslim employees be deemed to have dressed indecently.

She said this was despite employees donning three-quarter-length sleeves which has already been imposed on Chinese traders and restaurateurs before.

“Such a move may spark resentment by employers against the Muslim staff, thereby affecting ties between Muslims and non-Muslims in Kelantan.”

The campaign, she added, will also dissuade non-Muslim traders and entrepreneurs from hiring Muslim women.

Thus, while employment prospects for males will go up in Kelantan, Heng worried that this will paradoxically be at the expense of female Muslims.

She went on to compare MPKB’s crackdown on non-Muslim traders to the prosecution of non-Muslim minorities by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

“Adversely, non-Muslim traders and entrepreneurs may just decide to pack up and search for greener pastures in other states, given such oppressive conditions in Kelantan, causing Kelantan to suffer from capital outflow and lost development opportunities.”

She instead suggested that MPKB inspect the premises and surroundings on hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation maintenance instead of targeting Muslim women and non-Muslim employers.



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