Wanita MCA: Yet another dress code “non-compliance” that defies common sense

WANITA MCA has expressed concern with what the party’s women’s wing described as “overzealous dress code moral policing” which continues at the vicinity of government offices, the latest being at the Pasir Gudang City Council.

On Feb 15, a 60-year-old woman was barred from using the elevator to renew her business permit on the second floor after entering the premises as a security guard had deemed her attire as “not long enough.”

“Aren’t personnel at Pasir Gudang City Council aware that as one ages, knee issues may hinder a person’s movements?” asked Wanita MCA national chairman Wong You Fong. “From the photo, it is apparent that the hemline covered her shin, just short of reaching the ankles. The said woman was asked to walk up the stairs instead.”

Wong You Fong

“Where the Pasir Gudang City Council security guard is concerned, security guards are tasked with maintaining security and safety of staff and visitors in the building, instead of exploiting their position to satisfy their lust or becoming moral policemen.”

The latest “non-compliance” issue came on the heels of a dress code kerfuffle where an accident victim was denied entry to lodge a report at a police station in Kajang and that of a female patient disallowed treatment by a medical officer at the Kampar Hospital emergency room – both due to wearing pants which did not reach the knees.

In the wake of both incidents, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution has informed the police to accept reports regardless of what clothes a person wears while Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa has affirmed that every patient deserves priority regardless of dress code.

Taking her argument further, Wong noted that society “should not be lulled into accepting little Napoleons who assume they have been bestowed with the unwritten license to ogle at anybody’s anatomical physique on the basis of executing dress codes”.

“Wanita MCA is concerned that this power of moral policing will cause common sense to end in smoke similar to the religious police’s behaviour during a fire at a hostel for female students in 2002 in a religious conservative country,” recalled the Wanita MCA Johor chairman.

“Back then, religious police from the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, had prevented schoolgirls from escaping their blazing hostel and instead, forced them back in, as the latter were not covered in headscarves.”

Added Wong: “As a result, 15 young girls were torched to death in that inferno due to ultra-conservative interpretation of a dress code.”

Amid sarcasm on social media that one should wear long pants and long sleeves to bed in case if one gets a heart attack at midnight, she also expressed concern that that the enthusiastic focus of coercing dress codes will dilute and eventually erode Malaysia’s multi-cultural values.

“Wanita MCA is not advocating that the public may simply don any skimpy or revealing outfit and stride into any premises,” she stressed.

“So long as the individual is decently attired, there is no justification to prohibit entry. However, in emergency or life-and-death circumstances, the authorities should use their discretion and plain common sense to allow the individual entry.” – Feb 18, 2023

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