Kuala Lumpur – A Muslim woman was allegedly ill-treated by the management of a famous shopping mall in Singapore just because she was wearing a headscarf (tudung).
The matter came to light after her sister shared her ordeal through a Facebook posting on Wednesday.
Zafirah Edwards, a Singaporean national, said her sister was told to leave the premises of the outlet when she was sent to work at a popular sportswear brand’s section of the store which was short-handed.
In her Facebook posting, Zafirah claimed that two managers approached another employee at the sportswear section and spoke in Mandarin while “throwing dirty looks” at her sister and “made hand signals indicating the headscarf she was wearing”.
Zafirah said her sister was then approached by the other staff who told her she had to leave because she was wearing a tudung and “should not be working there”.
It was further alleged in the posting that another manager of the sportswear brand from a nearby outlet was then called and that Zafirah’s sister was told to leave, whether the section was shorthanded or not.
However, “the last straw”, according to Zafirah, was when her sister was made to leave through the service exit and proceed to the security guard post to have her bag checked.
“Now that is the last straw. People are afraid of anything that is different. They are uncertain and may not be accepting,” Zafirah said, expressing her disgust that such a stigma still exists in the nation.
Her Facebook post has since garnered 2,316 likes with 1,302 shares.
In an update posted earlier today, Zafirah said the mall in question had issued a formal apology via email to her and her sister yesterday, “but it lacks substance and not issued by the responsible parties”, Zafirah said.
“We stated this fact in our reply to them and stated specifically the actions we want them to take. The ball is in their court now and we await their decision.”
Zafirah wanted the management to educate the particular staff on techniques to handle sensitive issues to ensure that fair employment practices were observed in the workplace.
“It is inevitable that humans will err, but what matters is how we pick ourselves up and move on from there. So let’s give them a chance to make up for their mistakes.”
While it could not be confirmed if the apology had in fact been issued or the authenticity of the incident itself, several netizens from Singapore posted screenshots of the country’s Member of Parliament Zainal Sapari writing to the Ministry of Manpower to investigate the matter.