President Halimah welcomes move to write TAFEP guidelines into law, allow nurses to wear tudung at work
SINGAPORE: President Halimah Yacob on Monday (Aug 30) welcomed the Government’s proposal to enshrine into law the current guidelines on anti-discrimination at the workplace, as well as the decision to allow Muslim nurses to wear a tudung at work.
Mdm Halimah was previously the deputy secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress. She co-chaired the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) when it was first set up in 2006.
“Properly enforced and implemented, the law will provide yet another avenue to ensure equality and fairness in our society," Mdm Halimah said in a Facebook post.
“Fundamentally, we all want the opportunity to be employed and to prove our worth at the workplace without being subject to stereotypes or prejudices, which have nothing to do without ability or contributions," she added.
“The law is a good progression in our journey to create fairer workplaces.”
The move was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his National Day Rally speech on Sunday night.
Mr Lee said that while TAFEP has “clear guidelines” on fair treatment, the Government has received “repeated requests” to give it more teeth.
He noted that the labour movement and some Members of Parliament have pushed for anti-discrimination laws that carry penalties.
Mdm Halimah also welcomed Mr Lee’s announcement that public healthcare nurses will be allowed to wear a tudung with their uniforms from November.
"This is a wonderful move and the outcome of many years of painstaking effort by Muslim leaders working quietly in concert with the Government and the community," she said.
"It will ease the dilemma faced by many Muslim women today who want to work in sectors which do not allow the tudung," the President added.
“Giving them the choice to do so is to allow them to expand their horizons and pursue careers in areas that they truly enjoy. It can only be good for our society.”
On measures to better support lower-wage workers, Mdm Halimah said there was "good focus" in Mr Lee's speech on the matter.
“Our society needs to value all work and not just those that come with high credentials,” Mdm Halimah said.
“With better income, (lower-wage workers) will be able to give greater support to their children, afford their own flats and save for their retirement.
“There is a tremendous cost to society if these needs are neglected. Apart from social conflicts, deprivations deny people from achieving their full potential.”