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Gender-segregation rules for salons to stay

The gender-segregation rules for unisex salons in Kelantan are here to stay. The ruling was made to stop immoral activities, such as prostitution and sexual harassment, in the state.

State Local Government, Tourism and Culture committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said that the by-law was enforced by the Kota Baru Municipal Council in line with the Islamic policies propagated by the PAS government more than 10 years ago.

To stop immoral activities

“It is in line with our government's policy to safeguard women and curb sexual harassment at work places,” he said.

“We are more fearful of immoral activities like the presence of guest relations officer (GRO) and masseurs at such places. We do not want this to happen in this state that practices Islam,” he said in a press conference.

Takiyuddin said hair salons had often been reported to be doing business only as a guise but behind that they were involved in illegal and immoral activities.

"Is a father willing to allow his daughter to be sexually harassed while at work or a husband willing to accept his wife being disturbed by male customers?" he asked.

Gender-segregation to prevent illicit activities

He said there was nothing wrong for a woman salon worker to provide hairdressing services to a female patron or for a male barber to cut a male customer's hair.

“But when a woman worker gives upper body massages to a male customer, one thing will eventually lead to another, ending with illicit activities,” said Takiyuddin.

He gave the example of special coaches for women in Kuala Lumpur by KTM Komuter and Rapid KL.

“My question here is when it comes to salons, why is it a forbidden cut and when it comes to trains, why not call them forbidden coaches ... They are not forbidden, it is just man for man and woman for woman,” he said.

Policy will never be changed

He added that the (Kota Baru Municipal) council’s decision was not intended to betray or treat the non-Muslim community badly.

“It is more of our attempts to take care of the maruah (dignity) of the people. This is our policy and will never be changed.”

So far, 223 hairdressing salons here had been given the licences to operate. He calls for the public not to sensationalise the issue.

He also expressed confidence that other states would follow the ruling.

Summons issued to hair salons

It was recently reported that a Kota Bharu hairdressing salon manager, Ong Lee Ting, claimed that she was issued with summonses 11 times by the local authority since 2010 because her non-Muslim women workers had cut the hair of non-Muslim men.

As result, she was fined RM200 to RM350 each time and she also claimed that other hair salons also faced similar problem.

It is also learnt that the Kota Baru Municipal Council has given a verbal warning to a salon operator for putting up posters of female hair models.

Don’t pay summons

The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) advised all Kota Bharu hair salon operators not to pay their summonses.

“MCA is willing to provide legal assistance to help these owners challenge the council in court,” said party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek in his speech at the Petaling Business and Industry Association 41st anniversary and fund-raising dinner on Sunday.

Dr Chua also urged the Kelantan government to focus its attention on more serious issues in the state, such as the problems relating to poverty, drug abuse and the high divorce rate.

Meanwhile, MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai described the by-law as a “backward policy”, which was against the Federal Constitution.

What are your thoughts on the gender-segregation rules for unisex salons in Kelantan? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.



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