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Shahrizat Blasts "no sleeveless tops" rule
8/4/2001 1:39 am Sun
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Malaysian minister blasts "no sleeveless tops" rule
"There is no law in this country prohibiting sleeveless blouses. Such an
outfit is normal in our multi-racial and multi-cultural society," said
Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, according to the afternoon Malay Mail paper.
Women wear a range of styles in multicultural Malaysia. Many Muslim
Malays cover their heads and sport a traditional outfit with long sleeves
and ankle-length skirt, while Chinese and Indian women often wear the latest,
But recent electoral successes by a traditional Islamic party is putting
more pressure on Muslim women to conform and most government offices are
dominated by Malay Muslims.
In last week's incident, an immigration department employee refused to
serve a Chinese woman in a sleeveless blouse. The woman left and returned
wearing a long-sleeve blouse and was then served.
The department has posted a sign at its entrance illustrating appropriate
dress. It appears to prohibit vests, but not all sleeveless tops.
Shahrizat said the dress code was offensive. "The department's signboard
itself is gender sensitive. Women seem to be the target. Don't we have
men who dress shabbily?"
Shahrizat, a Muslim known for her fashionable outfits, said the department
should drop its "sanctimonious and holier-than-thou attitude".
Earlier this year the spiritual leader of the Islamic Parti-Islam
se-Malaysia (PAS) said provocatively-dressed women were inviting rape.
PAS rules the northern states of Terengganu and Kelantan and is
increasingly taking Malay votes from the government of Prime Minister
Last year officials in Kelantan fined 26 women for not covering their
Ada gambar di sini:
WHEN APPLYING FOR A PASSPORT...
NO sleeveless tops
Apr 6, 2001
SHE was surprised when a security guard told her: "Ini baju tak
boleh." (This blouse is not suitable).
Then she was warned by a female officer: Cover up - or you
can't apply for your passport.
The remisier, a mother of a 10-year-old girl, was stunned.
After all, she was dressed in a designer outfit of a sequinned
blouse and ankle-length pants.
The woman officer's stern command puzzled Madam Lan. She
was left wondering what she had to cover.
The incident happened last week at the Malaysian Immigration
Department at Damansara Town Centre in Kuala Lumpur,
reported The Malay Mail.
Madam Lan was there on March 30 to apply for a restricted
passport for travel to Singapore.
First, a security guard came up to her and said that her blouse
is not suitable.
There were signs which prohibits applicants from dressing in
shorts, singlets or sleeveless outfit.
But Madam Lan said she did not notice them.
So she did not understand what the security guard meant and
walked to the counter when her queue number was flashed.
That was when the dress code was made clear to her.
"I was at Counter 13, waiting for the officer to look into my
"Before he could do that, a woman staff seated at the back of
the counter ordered me to leave the room.
"She said I should go and cover myself.
"If not, my application would not be entertained."
The waiting crowd had by then swelled to about 100 people.
Madam Lan pleaded with the female officer to let her carry on
with the passport application - but in vain.
"Finally, I pleaded with her to hold on to my forms while I go
out to get something to cover myself with."
While Madam Lan was walking out of the place, she saw
another girl being admonished for wearing a sleeveless blouse.
"Both of us went out to a nearby store and bought a blouse
costing RM18 each.
"We then wore the blouse on top of our existing garment and
went back to the department, where our application was
"The woman staff came by and thanked me for co-operating,"
said Madam Lan.
Madam Lan was at the Immigration Department the day before,
for the same purpose. She had worn a three-quarter sleeve
blouse and a skirt.
"I could not get the transaction done as the department wanted
to see my international passport, which I did not bring along."
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