Hair salon operators react to Kelantan's gender-segregation regulation

PETALING JAYA - Hairdressers here are aghast at Kelantan's gender-segregation regulations for hair salons in the state while another Kelantan-based salon operator has decided to move his business to Johor.

The salon operator apparently is moving to Johor to set up business, after the local authority in Kelantan started to apply gender-segregation rules to non-Muslims.

Describing the ruling forbidding female stylists to cut non-Muslim male customers' hair as "ridiculous", Malaysian Hairdressing Association (MHA) president Billy Lim said that it would adversely affect the industry and would eventually cause the salons to shut down.

It was reported that hair salon operators in the PAS-ruled state were being fined by the state government for breaching municipal council by-laws which prohibit a woman from cutting the hair of a man and vice versa.

"This is an industry that caters to both genders, and obviously there isn't an equal number of male and female workers in each salon. The salons will not be able to survive if each worker is only allowed to cut the hair of customers of the same gender," he said.

He added that the association has been seeking legal advice on behalf of the salons in Kelantan and was ready to provide help if needed.

A Cut Above founder and creative director Winnie Loo said that the ruling was "jurassic and a hindrance to the industry from moving forward".

"What is so wrong about allowing customers to choose who they want to do their hair, regardless of their gender?" she said.

In Penang, state Wanita MCA chairman Tan Cheng Liang said the gender-segregation at hair salons in Kota Baru was outrageous and caused unjust income loss to non-Muslims.

She said the summonses issued by council to non-Muslim female hair salon owners have once again proven that the MCA was right in sounding the alarm that PAS' policies would affect non-Muslims.

"The hairdressers' case is just another example as to how PAS policies causes unjust income loss to non-Muslim entrepreneurs trying to earn an honest living," Tan said in a statement yesterday.

Gerakan deputy Youth chief Oh Tong Keong urged the DAP to stop fooling itself by claiming that hudud law would not be applied on non-Muslims and therefore has no impact on non-Muslims.

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