The strong reactions to the Road Transport Department’s (JPJ) decision to forcibly order a woman to cover herself with a sarong during a visit to one of the department’s branches have come to a head with DAP national vice-chairman Teresa Kok calling the entire matter “ridiculous”.
According to the Malay Mail Online, the department had refused to serve her until she would cover up her legs, seemingly going entirely against Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai’s call for the JPJ to be more provide higher quality service and be more “people-friendly”.
Kok insists that the minister immediately review the department’s visitor dress code. “If Liow is serious in wanting to improve JPJ’s image, the first thing he must do now is to instruct that JPJ rescinds/revises its unacceptable visitor dress code. He must ensure that JPJ provide efficient services to all visitors who dress themselves in a manner that is appropriate for a public place,” she said in a statement.
The viral story of a woman, identified as Suzanna GL Tan, who visited a JPJ branch office and being made to wear a sarong after facing the threat of not receiving any service has sparked conversations aplenty among Malaysians. The woman described the sarong as more of a bag to cover up her legs, raising questions about the where the line of decency and appropriate attire lies.
Since the woman’s venting on Facebook, the JPJ has come under a barrage of criticism and vitriol by the people of Malaysia as well as government and opposition MPs.
The daily report says that Kok the same dress code should be strictly enforced at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Hari Raya open house as well as Transport Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai’s MCA Chinese New Year open house, if the JPJ thinks it is right.
Meanwhile, in response, the JPJ has released a statement saying "JPJ would like to firmly state there is no regulation that indicates visitors must be provided with a sarong. Clearly, this is an inconvenience to the visitor."
“I regret that this dress code issue has taken place. There is an immediate need to review existing guidelines," said Transport Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai on this matter.
“JPJ’s visitor dress code requirement is totally unacceptable,” said Kok.