Following the recent “sarong” controversy, the Deputy Minister of the Malaysian Transport Ministry said that their security guards would no longer be allowed to tell the public how to dress.
The Malay Mail Online reported this statement made by Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi yesterday in response to the June 8 incident at the Road Transport Department (JPJ) office in Wangsa Maju of a woman wearing a skirt who was instructed to cover herself with a sarong.
Tazidamiza Ismail, the Rela security officer involved in the incident, said that she was just “following instructions.”
This was the stem from which there was public outcry to reform the dress code within the various Malaysian public departments to be more reflective or modern standards and a multi-racial society. Such is the view of Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun and DAP national vice-chairman Teresa Kok, calling for blame to be placed on the ruling and not the enforcer.
A consensus was reached by the Transport Ministry earlier this week that security guards, including those from Rela, would not hold any authority over how the public chooses to dress when visiting its agencies or offices.
He told the online daily, “Whether the public adhere to a dress code, or are wearing appropriate clothing, will be assessed by the government officers working at the counters, not the security guard.”
“We will advise and educate the public about the dress code.”
What this all means is that should you find yourself at a JPJ office or branch, the security personnel have no right to comment and/or instruct you on how to dress. Even if they do, you can easily dismiss them. However, from our understanding, that does not preclude the staff behind the counter from denying you service.
There are other incidences of visitors being told to cover up, such as when a woman was not allowed to enter the Sungai Buloh hospital because she was wearing shorts and had to don a towel around her waist before being permitted inside.
Do you think that barring security guards from instructing visitors on their attire is the right move? Or should there be a base-level change in country’s dress code policy?
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