The sacking of a restaurant staff for wearing a necklace with a cross was “highly discriminatory”, said Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii.
In a statement, Yii said the move by Mon Chinese Beef Roti Restaurant was against the law and a “challenge” to the freedom of religion in Malaysia.
He said that non-Muslims are allowed to prepare halal food as long as the requirements are met.
“The restaurant should have simply released a statement assuring the public that all guidelines on halal food preparations are being strictly followed.
“There’s no need to resort to sacking an honest worker who is simply exercising his right to express his faith,” said Yii, according to the Borneo Post.
Mon Chinese Beef Roti Restaurant claimed that it had terminated a staff member who wore a necklace bearing a cross after a video depicting the staff had gone viral.
One video questioned whether the restaurant was trying to deceive its patrons because the staff in question had the necklace despite wearing a songkok.
The restaurant said the hiring of the staff was a “mistake” because they did not perform adequate background checks.
A spokesperson for the restaurant said they have four staff from China and a local – all Chinese Muslims.
Following this, the restaurant has received brickbats online for discrimination. Some netizens are urging the terminated worker to sue.
Yii expressed concern over rising racial and religious intolerance in Malaysia where diversity was no longer respected.
“What is unfortunate is that racial/religious intolerance is not only dividing our country but in this case, it is causing an honest man to lose his job.
“Such a situation should not be allowed to fester and spread to Sabah and Sarawak where we have been living in harmony, and respecting each other and others’ beliefs even in a multi-religious setting,” he said.
In view of this, Yii urged Putrajaya to enact anti-discrimination laws and provide better education on discrimination. – Malaysiakini