PETALING JAYA: There is no such thing as a “sarong policy”, says Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
“We should not impose unnecessary guidelines on dress code for the public,” he said on his official Facebook page yesterday.
The Transport Minister was responding to a post by Suzanna G.L. Tan on Facebook that she was given a sarong to wear when she went to a JPJ branch on Monday and told she would not be served otherwise.
She was wearing a skirt that ended just above her knees.
Liow said he had ordered an investigation and for action to be taken.
“There is an immediate need to review existing guidelines,” he added.
Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie called JPJ “a little Napoleon” for imposing rules according to its “own whims”.
She urged the authorities to punish the officer who gave Tan the sarong to wear.
“With our multi-ethnic communities, it is important for Malaysians to nurture harmony among the races and national unity via the spirit of mutual respect and inclusiveness,” Heng said in a statement.
The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) said refusing to provide service and forcing Tan to wear a sarong was unwarranted and unprofessional.
“Such mistreatment is reflective of the growing conservatism in Malaysia which seeks to police the dressing and behaviour of ordinary Malaysians.
“While it is acceptable to have a dress code for religious houses such as mosques or temples, the Government on the other hand has no business adopting such stringent dress codes,” said JAG in a statement endorsed by eight women’s groups, which included Sisters In Islam, Association of Women Lawyers and Women’s Aid Organi-sation.
JAG called on the Government to end “this unnecessary moral policing” by removing stringent dress codes – especially those that are tied to narrow and arbitrary definitions of modesty.