PENANG 28 JUNE– Penang Gerakan Wanita has urged the government to stop the “little napoleons” from creating their own “policy” on dress codes for visitors at government departments and offices.
Its acting chief Hartini Tan said quick measures must be taken to prevent the nation from becoming a “laughing stock”.
“We acknowledge the decorum of proper and decent attire at these premises, however we must also bear in mind that the value of any religion should not be forced on all Malaysians and other nationals,” she said in a statement.
Tan was referring to several unpleasant incidents where women were denied entry into government offices, hospital, and court because their skirts were deemed too short. The latest involved a young Taiwanese man who was barred from entering the Lost and Found baggage area at the airport because he was wearing knee length pink short.
Tan urged the authorities concerned to view this problem seriously and to foresee the adverse consequences it would bring if not handled with care.
She questioned whether these incidents happened purely on the wrong discretions exercised by the security guards themselves.
She said directives and guidelines issued by the top management of the departments concerned should be clear. “It’s ironical that one side made a mistake and the other made apology.”
“This kind of ambiguous situation should not be allowed to go on. Clearer guidelines should be issued,” she said.
She also agreed with the views expressed by Gerakan Wanita national deputy chairman Ng Siew Lai that women should enjoy the liberty and right to choose dresses of their choice so long as they will not disrupt public order.
Tan urged the Chief Secretary to the Government to draft a new dress code and guidelines and to discard obsolete and conservative ones.
“This will stop the emergence and the widespread of the religious conservatism in the public sector. Only then, can our nation move forward,” said Tan.