SINGAPORE – About one in five female Muslim healthcare staff has begun wearing the tudung at work since they were allowed to do so from November, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Monday (Jan 10).
“Some staff have chosen not to do so, while some others may be considering. We respect the decision of each individual,” he added in a parliamentary reply.
He was responding to Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah (Jalan Besar GRC), who requested for an update on the move to allow healthcare workers to wear the tudung while in uniform.
Mr Ong said hospitals have set clinical guidelines and informed staff to ensure that infection control requirements are followed for the safety of patients and staff.
“Staff who choose to wear the tudung have also undergone refitting for N95 masks,” he added.
Last August, the Health Ministry said the revised policy to don the headgear will apply to more than 7,000 healthcare workers. The move was announced during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech on Aug 29.
PM Lee acknowledged that wearing the tudung has become increasingly important for the Muslim community, reflecting a general trend of stronger religiosity in Islam around the world, as well as in South-east Asia and Singapore.
It has also become an important part of the faith of many Muslim women. Over the last few decades, more Muslim women here have worn the headgear, both in social settings and at workplaces, he noted.
In his written reply, Mr Ong said that feedback about the move – from both Muslim and non-Muslim staff – has been generally positive, with Muslim staff expressing appreciation for this change and patients respecting the wishes of the nurses.
“Some staff have also received compliments from patients on their neat and professional attire with their tudung,” he added.