TAFEP looking into alleged discrimination against Singapore Chinese Muslim

The Periscope app, like Meerkat, allows anyone to stream live video to a wide audience with their smartphone

[UPDATE 2 July 2015, 11:20am: The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices is in the process of finding out more information on Heidi Heng's job application process]

The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) informed Yahoo Singapore on Wednesday that they are aware of the alleged discrimination towards job applicant Heidi Heng, and are in the process of finding out more information.

Heng, a Singapore Chinese Muslim, was shocked when she was asked a question about her Halal diet when she tried to find out more about an opening for an administration position.

"You can't take pork right?" said someone who appeared to be the human resource staff of an unnamed company. She was later told that her Halal diet would be an inconvenience to other employees especially when it comes to company events.

Earlier in the conversation, Heng was mistaken for being a non-Chinese because she was seen wearing a headscarf.

The correspondence took place via Whatsapp messages on her phone when Heng was responding to job application queries. She was also asking for the appropriate email address to send her resume to.

A screengrab of the exchange was posted on Facebook on Tuesday, and has since garnered more than 1,000 shares and nearly 100 comments.


Facebook screen grab of racist conversation. 
Facebook screen grab of racist conversation. 


Heng seemed disappointed at how the conversation had panned out, even labeling the comments that the staff member made as “racist”.


“Work is work, food is food. I can eat Halal food, (you) can eat (your) non-Halal food. Just (wanted) a simple admin job, end up get a racist comment... Admin job got event every month meh (sic)?” she said.


Most of the commenters on Facebook have shown support for Heng while criticising the company.


“I don’t see why one’s dietary preference will hinder the productivity of the admin job… what if the candidate is a Chinese vegetarian?” said a Bob M Fauzi.

One commenter even offered Heng a job and is awaiting her reply.

According to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, "religion is unacceptable as a criterion except in cases where employees have to perform religious functions as part of the job". In such cases, this has to be presented clearly and objectively.