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Kelantan plagued by gender-segregation controversies


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 24 Nov 2012

PETALING JAYA: The Kota Baru hair salon fiasco is not the only gender-segregation controversy that has emerged out of the PAS-led Kelantan Government since the party took control of the state in 1990.

Supermarkets in Kelantan were known to have separate counters for men and women, a rule that was enforced back in the 1990s.

In 1995, the state ruled that men and women were not allowed to sit next to each other in the cinema. The state government also said lights must be switched on during screenings.

There has not been any operating cinemas or cineplexes ever since the ruling came into place, although there is no actual ban on such outlets and operators are allowed to open cinemas provided that the guidelines are adhered to.

Female Muslim workers are also subject to Kelantan’s strict dress code rulings.

The Kota Baru Municipal Council goes on regular checks at businesses and fines employers if their female Muslim workers do not wear the tudung (head scarf) or wear short sleeve shirts.

Kelantan’s entertainment laws ban nightlife establishments such as nightclubs, discotheques and pubs.

However, in 2006, Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said dance clubs were allowed, provided liquor was not served, male and female patrons were segregated and women “properly attired”.

Pop concerts are also a thing of the past in the state.

In 2003, the state government opposed a concert which featured Indonesian singers such as Hetty Koes Endang and Dian Pieshasha, as allowing women to dance and sing on stage was in violation of its entertainment enactment.

Related Stories: Hair salon operators react to Kelantan's gender-segregation regulation

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