KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said it was optional for women police personnel to wear the "tudung" (headscarf) while performing their daily duties but the headscarf was compulsory for those taking part in parades.
"There is no problem and dispute (on the wearing of the tudung by women police personnel). Members of uniformed services, including the police, must abide by the regulations on the wearing of their uniforms," he said at a news conference after launching the 199th Police Day celebration at the Police Training Depot here.
The Prime Minister said the issue should not have arisen.
Several Members of Parliament debated the issue in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday after the disclosure of a circular by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar requiring all women police personnel to wear the tudung during official functions.
Deputy Internal Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow later explained that non-Muslim women police personnel could choose whether or not to wear the tudung without risking disciplinary action.
Several non-Muslim women police personnel interviewed after the parade said they viewed the regulation on wearing the tudung as a requirement to achieve uniformity and not a burden to them.
Constable Kang Yu Reen, 19, said she did not feel awkward wearing the tudung today although it was the first time she did it at an official event.
"I felt normal. Furthermore, since everyone wore the tudung, there was uniformity and we looked smart," she said.
Katherine Minis Ak Kueh @ Jessie, 21, said the first time she put on the tudung, she felt hot.
"Maybe because I was not used to it, I felt a bit uncomfortable," she said, and added that the regulation should not be questioned.