KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran has joined his DAP colleague to urge the Human Resources Ministry to take action against a restaurant in the Malaysian capital said to have sacked its employee for a cross necklace at work.
The former human resource minister said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that Malaysia has specific laws to handle religious discrimination at the workplace, news portal Free Malaysia Today reported last night.
“What actions have been taken by the ministry? As I recall, there is a specific provision in the Employment Act for action to be taken.
“Has immediate action been taken? If not, it should be taken,” he was quoted as saying.
Kulasegaran also pointed out the issue might become a significant problem if immediate actions were not taken by the authorities as it involves matters of race and religion.
“What I’m worried about is that one day, workers with holy ash on their forehead might face problems with their employers, resulting in their termination,” he was quoted as saying.
Kulasegaran was referring to the Hindu tradition of anointing the body, particularly the forehead, with holy ash.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, also from DAP, had earlier condemned the sacking of the worker at a Chinese Muslim restaurant in Kuala Lumpur as being “highly discriminatory, against the law, and a challenge to the freedom of religion in the country”.
The matter gained traction on social media last weekend when a video of a woman said to be the manager of the restaurant apologised for purportedly “overlooking” an employee who wore a cross necklace while working and promised to be more attentive to the sensitivities of Muslims in the country.
The manager whose name was given only as Sofia also confirmed that the worker had been terminated, the New Sunday Times reported on November 19.
But her action drew criticism online, with some internet users suggesting the former worker sue the restaurant for religious discrimination and unfair dismissal.
Free Malaysia Today also reported Penang Mufti Wan Salim Wan Noor saying the sacking of the restaurant worker is not in line with Islam, which teaches its followers to be kind to all humans, even if they are of a different religion.