18 September, 2009
Dr. Phang Chiew Hun,
Director of Health Sciences,
Ngee Ann Polytechnic,
535 Clementi Road,
RE: REQUEST FOR EXEMPTION REGARDING UNIFORM
Dear Dr. / Madam,
1. I refer you letter dated 17 August 2009.
2. It would appear that you have totally ignored our appeal to even consider our
grounds for requesting to practice an important aspect of our religion regarding this
matter of modesty and dressing.
3. Your reiterating ad nauseam that “nursing students need to keep to the stipulated
hospital uniform dress code which does not allow the wearing of headscarf” does
not provide us with any understanding of the rationale, nor a valid reason, as to why
it’s conformity is so important that even a Muslim lady must contravene her own
religious obligation. To insist that the reason for the rule is “because it is already a
rule”, as though it is sufficient grounds for one to contravene against her own
religious obligation, is an insult to our intelligence.
4. We must, once again, put on record that your insistence to have a Muslim lady to
expose her head in public, without a valid reason, is in fact compelling her to sin as it
is against her religion. So, when as you stated that, your staff would then disallow
her if she do not go against her religion (because this is what it tantamount to) “from
sitting for the Nursing Skills Practical Test. As a result she would not pass the Nursing
and Clinical Attachment modules and would not be able to progress to the next level
and complete the Diploma in Health Sciences (Nursing)”, we must register our
strongest protest to this intimidation, and once again put to you that this would be
regarded as a religious discrimination.
5. It is indeed regretful that religious tolerance it seems, has no place in your esteem
institution, when you insist in upholding a rule which do not have any practical utility
nor medically important, over a religious imperative and a basic human right for her
to practice her religion. It is not that my daughter refuses to sit for the test, nor does
she lacks in enthusiasm and earnestness in pursuing her course study (which her
results in other aspects of her test would indicate). It is only because of this issue of
her not wanting to contravene a serious religious commandment that your
department would go to the extent of totally negating her any opportunity to pursue
her study, and the possibility of serving in this noble profession.
6. Just because discrimination is being tolerated even by those being discriminated
against, it is still discrimination. Discrimination is to be evaluated on the merit of the
case, not on the basis of how many people condone it.
7. We hope that you would reconsider the matter, as she has been scheduled to go for
the Clinical attachment for Level 1.1.
ذوامكفل حاج امسعيل
Zhulkeflee Bin Haji Ismail
Apt. Block 716,
Bedok Reservoir Road,
Ms Siti Muslehat,
Ngee Ann Polytechnic
535 Clementi Road,
Chief Nursing Officer,
Ministry of Health
College of Medicine Building
16 College Road, Singapore 169854
Deputy Director/Higher Education Division,
Ministry of Education, Singapore
1 North Buona Vista Drive
Singapore Islamic Scholars and
Religious Teachers Association,
448, #03-01 Changi Road,