Singapore Will Finally Allow Nurses Option To Wear Tudung From November Onwards

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the announcement during his National Day Rally speech on 29 August.

Cover image via dpa/SCMP & Jakayla Toney/Unsplash

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for our latest stories and breaking news.

Singaporean Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong announced that the wearing of tudung for nurses serving in the public sector will be allowed from November

Lee made the promise during his National Day Rally speech on 29 August, where he rationalised the decision was a balance between national interest and religious harmony, reported Bernama.

"I hope this decision will be accepted by all parties with the right spirit, in an effort to strengthen our shared commitment to Singapore's multiracial and multi-religious community," he said.

He says this allowance was made in light of more Muslim women wearing the headscarf to work in the island nation.

The revised policy will directly apply to over 7,000 staff.

According to Straits Times, Lee acknowledged that the wearing of the tudung has become increasingly important for the Muslim community not just in Singapore, but around the world.

He reasoned that the choice of attire was an important part of a Muslim women's faith, while more and more women have worn the tudung to work there, as compared to decades prior.

Despite this, Lee claims the government has observed racial interactions to remain largely palatable, with the younger generation deemed to be more accepting of cultural differences.

According to the Singaporean Health Ministry, this new directive will apply to over 7,000 female Muslim staff members.

The ministry said the change came after consulting infectious disease experts, nursing profession leaders, as well as the Muslim community at-large.

Singaporean uniformed healthcare workers were not allowed to wear the tudung under previous guidelines, but certain support staff were allowed to as they had no strict dress code.

Image via Straits Times

However, Muslim women and girls in many other instances are still barred from exercising their faith in this way, with Lee citing national unity

In the same address, Lee recounted how all service members in the Singapore Armed Forces, Home Team, and public services must adhere to a dress code which applies to all.

This is to "maintain the status quo" whereby they are "impartial and secular" arms of the state to enforce their laws and discharge their duties, he said.

In the case for schools, he claimed that all students don the same uniform regardless of their financial background, race, or religion so they may "minimise their differences" and "build bonds in their early years".

The decision for nurses was then surmised to be an appeasement of the Malay Muslim community's persistent requests, with Lee citing an extensive exchange he partook back in 2014 with religious leaders.

Read more trending current affairs stories on SAYS:

You may be interested in: