KUALA LUMPUR: Lawmakers across the divide have criticised a Road Transport Department officer who gave a sarong to a woman customer and asked her to cover up to meet JPJ’s dress code.
“What she wore is something seen everywhere. I feel we have become a laughing stock,” said Liang Teck Meng, Barisan Nasional’s MP for Simpang Renggam, while debating the 11th Malaysian Plan yesterday.
He questioned JPJ’s dress code and asked whether it was issued by the Chief Secretary to the Government.
“I think the guideline is unreasonable; maybe the Government needs to review its dress code for all agencies,” he said.
On Monday, Suzanna G.L. Tan related her encounter at a JPJ office on Facebook and posted photographs of her wearing a blouse with a skirt that ended just above the knee and another wearing a sarong. She had gone to the office to transfer the ownership of her car which she had sold.
While at the counter to get a queue number, an officer handed her the sarong and told to wear it or “they would not entertain” her.
On Monday night, JPJ posted a notice on its Twitter account stating that visitors should obey the dress code.
Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh, Barisan MP for Putatan, asked the Transport Ministry to clarify whether it had issued the guideline or was it up to JPJ officers.
“We understand that for Muslims, they need to cover up, but what about Indians and Chinese whose traditional outfit is not necessarily fully covered because some outfits are sleeveless?” asked Teo Ni Ching, DAP MP for Kulai.
PAS MP for Kota Baru Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the officer’s action was not a form of Islamisation of government bodies.
He said the code was determined by government agencies.
“It is not Islamisation, I think. Even in Kelantan for Muslims, we encourage them to cover their aurat. It is not a must. We just encourage it,” said the PAS assistant secretary-general.
“For non-Muslims, it is ‘pakai sopan (be decently dressed)’.
“I was a state exco member and for licences issued by the government to non-Muslim traders, they just needed to be decently dressed.
“We do not even give a definition of what is decently dressed, so long as it is sopan (decent) from your point of view, it is okay,” he said.
Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said the officer might have been “too rigid” in handling the situation because the woman was not indecently dressed.
“So, even though the skirt was slightly above the knee, it was not like she was wearing hot pants or a bikini or something like that.
“That is my personal opinion,” he said outside Parliament.
The outgoing PAS central committee member said people should be persuaded to be modestly dressed.