So, when the latest ruling came out from the Kelantan State Government, which is the only state in the Federal System of Malaysia that is controlled by an ultra-conservative Islamist party, I have to admit that, despite my personal feelings, I was appalled.
The state government, via the Municipal Council of the state capital, has imposed a dress code both on Muslims and non-Muslims in the state who work in retail outlets and restaurants. Of course, in keeping with the best in Islamic tradition adn the Sharia Law, the dress code ruling applies only to women, lest they lure the pious and virtuous Muslim men to unleash their lust.
'Indecently' dressed women can now be fined. Mind you, these laws have been on the books all this while, its just that the authorities have only now chosen to implement them fully.
All of this is based on the Islamic concept of covering one's 'aurat'. So, even non-Muslim dhimmis who 'expose' themselves are perceived as an insult to Islam. I'm starting to wonder what does not insult Islam. It seems to be very easily agitated and insulted while its slurs of others are ok cos they're kaffirs.
We need more reciprocity here.
There's a list of no-no's too with a graphic. =)
Check out the news reports:
KOTA BARU: Women working in retail outlets and restaurants in Kelantan have been warned to mind their dressing or be prepared to face a fine.
The Kota Baru Municipal Council (MPKB) has announced that it would “no longer tolerate indecent dressing” by women, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
Public relations officer Mohd Azman Daham said that under local council by-laws women who “dressed sexily or indecently” could be fined up to RM500.
“Such outfits are prohibited here as it smears the reputation of Kota Baru and affects its status as an Islamic City,” he said in an interview.
He added that although punishment for indecent dressing was in place under the by-laws, it had not been totally enforced.
“But now, MPKB will no longer tolerate skimpy outfits, following mounting complaints from the public,” Mohd Azman said, adding that under the by-laws, women working in retail outlets should wear decent clothes.
Council enforcement officers, he added, would step up checks in various localities.
Mohd Azman said MPKB would focus on “suspicious areas”, especially the shopping malls in Taman Hijau, Taman Uda and Taman Tengku Anis here.
The council had received complaints from ratepayers that certain shop assistants and waitresses here donned sexy outfits, supposedly to woo more male customers.
Under the standard dress code here, a Muslim women has to be covered until the ankles and wear a tudung. Non-Muslim women are required to wear decent clothes.
Tight-fitting tops and pants were not allowed, even for non-Muslims, Mohd Azman said.
Mohd Azman said under the council by-laws, the owners of retail outlets who employed indecently dressed workers could also be fined.
If the offence was repeated, the council could suspend the business permit of the outlet, he added.
State Local Government Committee chairman Takiyuddin Hassan said the state had not taken any tough action yet as, the MPKB had been more involved in generating awareness about proper attire.
“We define proper attire as wearing respectful clothing,” he said.
“We apologise to non-Muslims if this comes across as harsh but we must respect our Asian culture and religion in public.”
He noted that “eye-popping” outfits invited undesirable attention.
He urged the people to co-operate, especially those in the retail and restaurant businesses.
Trader Che Suraya Hulaimi Sulaiman, 32, supported the council's move, saying: “Almost everywhere there are retail assistants or waitresses wearing sexy clothes.
“This is an insult to Islam.”
Of course the country's women's groups, dominated by non-Muslim spokespersons are up in arms and are denouncing the measure as sexist as no corresponding code exists for men and women and their dressing are blamed for the sex crimes that occur.
PETALING JAYA: Several women's organisations are up in arms over the decision of the Kota Baru Municipal Council (MPKB) to fine women working in retail outlets and restaurants who wear clothes deemed to be revealing.
The offending items include tight fitting blouses, pants, jeans and mini-skirts.
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) executive director Ivy Josiah said the ruling was unacceptable and ridiculous, as women were always blamed for rape, sexual harassment and molest due their attire, while the men were never blamed for their behaviour.
She said the ruling was a reflection of a narrow mindset and she was wondering if they would stop their nonsense only when the women became invisible.
Josiah said everyone had the freedom to wear clothes of their choice, and that no one should dictate what a person should wear, certainly not the MPKB.
“I would like to know what is the (acceptable) level of tightness of a pair of pants or jeans, and what happens to those of us who have larger buttocks? Is the MPKB saying that we cannot wear pants or jeans as it will emphasise the buttocks?'' she asked when contacted yesterday.
Josiah said the MPKB should instead concentrate on cleaning the drains and parks, collecting rubbish and providing child care centres.
MPKB public relations officer Mohd Azman Daham said that under the local council by-law, those caught wearing outfits deemed indecent or sexy could be fined RM500.
He said the ruling was enforced due to complaints about retail assistants and waitresses wearing sexy outfits to woo male customers to their outlets and restaurants.
Wanita MCA chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen said once again Kelantan has come out with a policy to target the women.
“If men wear tight fitting jeans, is that not deemed sexy? Why is it only the women are targeted, so much so that the ruling covers non-Muslim women as well?'' she asked.
Dr Ng urged the PAS-led government not to introduce ridiculous policies.
Dr Ng said that she had confidence that the women working in the retail outlets and restaurants had the appropriate sense of dress and do not need anyone telling or controlling them on what to wear.
Women's Development Collective executive director Maria Chin Abdullah wondered whether the council planned to impose the same ruling on men dressed in singlets and shorts that exposed their thighs, arms and even armpits.
“Firstly, are these gatal (lecherous) men intending to buy products or eat at the restaurants, or are they there to see how the women are dressed? If that is their purpose, then it is an insult to the mentality of Malaysian men.''
The All-Women’s Action Society (Awam) executive director Honey Tan said that Awam was totally opposed to the move, if it was intended to improve moral standards.
Forcing women to bear the burden of morality is discriminatory and a violation of their rights, said Tan.
“It is not the job of the council to become the 'moral police', and if it is concerned about the community it serves, it should encourage men and women to respect each other regardless of their dressing,'' she added.
Wonder what tomorrow holds? Hmmn..Check out the related posts for some background.