The Sarong Cover-Ups: It Wasn't Just The JPJ, Another Woman Was Given A Sarong In Selayang

"What's wrong with a female wearing a skirt or a man wearing shorts?"

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Elderly pair denied entry into Ipoh City Council building for wearing Bermuda shorts

Image via The Star Online

Another woman, Chen Mei Lan was also denied entry into the building because she was clad in a see-through short-sleeved blouse. She was later allowed into the building accompanied by a council officer, while the siblings decided to wait outside.

Image via The Star Online

According to Chinese newspaper Sin Chew Daily, Huang Zheng Zhou, 68, and his sister Xia Nv were barred from entering the building on Thursday (2 July) because the security guard who stopped them said their shorts ended above the knees.

Newly-appointed Ipoh mayor Datuk Zamri Man said he would study the council’s dress code, adding that the public should wear decent attire.

The daily also quoted Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan as saying that the council should not be too strict on the dress code of people who wanted counter service.

The council officers, said Abdul Rahman, should advise the people to be decently dressed and not immediately bar them from the office.

3 July: Ipoh City Council denies woman's entry for "lack of sleeves"

Image via The Star

Eunice Chai, 32, a logistician, was stopped by Ipoh City Council's security guards for wearing a sleeveless high-collar blouse and jeans. She said she went to the council to apply for a business licence when one of the guards on duty commented on the "lack of sleeves" of her blouse.

"I was with a friend at the time, and thankfully he had a jacket in his car so he passed it to me at the entrance," she said.

According to Chai, the dress code poster placed at the door states the appropriate dressing for non-Muslims is a long dress with elbow-length sleeves.

"The weather is very hot right now, and I don't think many Chinese would wear like that when they go out," she said.

The poster for dress code of both sexes at the entrance of the council's building showed men in a formal shirt with sleeves, or blazer and tie, while the women in a long formal dress.

Journalist denied entry into Defence Ministry for showing knees

Image via The Star

A journalist from The Star was barred from entering the Defence Ministry headquarters in Ampang yesterday after being told she had violated the dress code, the latest in a series of overzealous enforcements of dress codes.

Tashny Sukumaran was stopped at the guardhouse of the Defence Ministry (Mindef) for wearing a black-and-white short-sleeved dress with a hemline that ended above her knees.

“At the counter to register my vehicle, an official told me to step back several times. I took a few small steps back until he told me: ‘Please step back further, I need to see what you are wearing. He then said I would not be allowed in because my knees were showing,” said Tashny

Tashny said she was only allowed in until she retrieved a long skirt she kept in her car for such an event, which she described as an “overzealous” dress code enforcement.

2 July: MAB apologises to man with 'cute pink shorts' over his dress code incident at KLIA

This is the pink shorts the guy wore. exactly the same one.

Image via Places And Foods

Malaysia Airports Bhd has apologised to a Malaysian traveller who was subjected to strict dress code requirements at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), saying that the airport authority did not impose such regulations on passengers.

Instead, MAB said that the dress code only applied to members of the public requesting visitor passes to enter the terminal on official visits or for work purposes.

Responding to Malay Mail Online’s query on the latest dress code controversy, MAHB clarified that there are rules on attire being enforced at KLIA but these were not meant for passengers.

“We have investigated the matter and found that it was a miscommunication on the implementation of a policy pertaining to the issuance of visitor passes at our airports. First and foremost, the dress code applies for public requesting for visitor passes to enter the terminal for any official visits or work purposes. However, the dress code does not apply to passengers passing through our airports,” MAHB said in a statement.

The firm explained that the mix-up occurred when the complainant, blogger and businessman Wilson Ng, applied for a visitor pass in order to re-enter the terminal to retrieve his luggage from the lost-and-found section. MAHB also issued an apology to Ng.

In the incident last month, businessman Wilson Ng returned from a holiday abroad and forgot his baggage at the airport.

He returned to KLIA the following day but was denied entry into the Lost and Found Department on the pretext that his pink, knee-length shorts were not appropriate.

In a blog posting, Ng said he was then told to wear a pair of pants and shoes provided to him by the security officer, which he wore to gain entry.

“This took me by surprise and I was shocked and upset over their request as my house was not near KLIA. I told the guard that I was not told about any dress code when I called up a day before there was nothing mentioned about the dress code and there is nothing mentioned on the website as well.

“Because I insisted they told me that they have pants and shoes that I could wear. So I wore the pants that I could not zip and shoes without socks, I went to get my security tag and went into the lost and found baggage office,” he wrote.

25 June: Penang court denies woman's entry for skirt being too short

Image via The Star

The ongoing controversy over dress codes has now spread to Penang, where a woman was allegedly prevented from entering a courthouse there after her skirt that reached her knees was adjudged to be too short by security personnel.

In a posting made Thursday morning and going viral on Facebook, a woman was depicted wearing a brown knee-length skirt with a caption:

"My colleague was denied entry into the Balik Pulau Mahkamah yesterday morning by a security guard because her skirt was too short. And all she wanted to do, was to certify some documents by the Commissioner of Oaths. Really? This is too short?"

"I was following a RTD directive," claims guard at JPJ Wangsa Maju

Rela officer Tazidamiza Ismail

Image via The Malay Mail

The Rela security guard (Tazidamiza Ismail) who asked a woman at the Wangsa Maju Road Transport Department (RTD) branch on June 8 to wear a sarong over her skirt was merely following instructions.

I was following a RTD directive. This kind of situation happens daily and this is the first time it has been made into an issue,” she said.

She added that the woman whose post became viral did not protest when told to don the sarong.

“She just wore the sarong and went to the counter. About an hour later some of the RTD staff told me that the incident had been uploaded on Facebook,” Tazidamiza was quoted as saying.

Tazidamiza said it was better that she help members of the public with the sarong than let them go home without completing their tasks at the RTD.

24 June: Rela officer receives "letter of appreciation" for making a member of the public don a sarong to enter JPJ

Suzanne G.L. Tan claims she was made to cover up when visiting the Road Transport Department branch in Wangsa Maju

Image via The Malaysian Insider

Rela officer Tazidamiza Ismail, who was involved in the sarong incident at the Road Transport Department(JPJ) in Wangsa Maju which went viral on social media early this month has received a letter of appreciation.

Rela director general Lukeman Saaid said the letter was to boost her morale following the incident. Tazidamiza was posted as a security guard at the Wangsa Maju JPJ branch at the time.

“She received a lot of flak over incident though she was only doing the job,” he was quoted telling reporters at a Home Ministry buka puasa function yesterday.

“Rela personnel are supposed to perform their duties according to the standard operating procedure of the department they are assigned to,” he added.

23 Jun: Sungai Buloh Hospital sorry about guard's refusal to allow a woman in shorts to enter

Image via Ohcalamity

Sungai Buloh Hospital director Dr Khalid Ibrahim today apologised for an incident where a woman had to wrap a towel around her waist just to enter the building.

"We apologise for the incident. It shouldn’t have happened. We do not bar any visitors from entering the hospital because of what they are wearing.However, we encourage the public to dress decently when visiting patients,” he was quoted as saying in a statement on Facebook.

Dr Khalid said there may have been some “miscommunication” involving the hospital guard, who allegedly barred the woman from entering the hospital.

“We have lodged a complaint with the security guard company about the guard in question,” he said.

Woman refused entry into Sungai Buloh Hospital because she was wearing shorts

Image via Nisha

A woman was reportedly stopped by security at Sungai Buloh hospital visitor's gate for wearing shorts and had to don a towel around her waist in order to enter a public hospital. The woman's father then borrowed a patient's towel from one of the hospital wards and brought it back outside for the woman to wrap around herself.

“The moment I reach the visitors gate they was few security guards stop me and say ‘you can't go in because you're wearing shorts’,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

“I have no choice my father need to go up to the wad and borrow patient towel and bring down for me to tie and close my half knees as the security guards request than only they let me to go in to visit the patients,” the woman said.

She added that the hospital security personnel had told her that the no-shorts policy came directly from the Ministry of Health.

Security guards at the Sungai Buloh Hospital

Image via Nisha

Selangor Government apologise for guard's act of refusing the two women to enter

Datuk Mohammed Khusrin Munawi

Image via The Malaysian Times

State secretary Datuk Mohammed Khusrin Munawi on behalf of the Selangor government has apologised to the two women asked by a security guard to wear a sarong before entering the State Secretariat building on Monday.

“There is a dress code but we never have rules for the sarong. We will make sure such incidents never ever happen again,” he said when contacted Monday.

Mohammed Khusrin added there were no instructions to stop anyone from entering the State Secretariat even if they did not dress accordingly.

“We will advise them to dress more appropriately the next time. We do not chase them away or ask them to cover up with a sarong,” he was quoted as saying.

"Sarong cover-up" back in trend when a guard barred two women from entering SUK building

Image via The Rakyat Post

Two women were denied entry into the Selangor state secretariat (SUK) building yesterday for not wearing sarongs. The New Straits Times (NST) reporter and Klang resident were stopped by security personnel at the entrance of the SUK building here when they arrived separately for a press conference.

One of the guards told journalist C. Premananthini, 32: “Madam, may I inform you that your dress is short and you are not allowed to enter. If it is okay, we have a sarong here and you can wear it to enter.

“As the guard was saying this, another guard was holding a green sarong on a hanger,” she said.

The 34-year-old resident Tan Lee Fong, was also told by the guard to cover up her legs. Tan was wearing a short sleeve black dress which ended slightly above her knees.

9 June: On Monday, 8 June, a Facebook post by a woman named Suzanne G L Tan caught the attention of Malaysians. In the post, Suzanne, who was at an unspecified JPJ office made claims that the JPJ staff forced her to wear a sarong in order for them to attend to her.

Before and after: Photos posted on Tan's Facebook page showing her original attire (left) and the sarong she was asked to wear at the JPJ office.

Image via Suzanne G L Tan/AsiaOne

"I had to go to JPJ personally to sign the transfer form for the car I sold. That in itself is already a pain," Tan wrote. "I go dressed like this. Indecent meh?" she asked in reference to her dressing in the photograph.

Tan said while she was at the counter to get a queue number when she was handed a sarong to wear "or they would not entertain me".

"So, I looked like this, a bag! Only to sit in front of a counter window where only (the) top part of my body (was) visible to the officer, I do not know if I should laugh or cry," she said. Tan did not say which JPJ office, nor the time or date she was there.

The woman pointed out that the sarong did not cover her entire body, if the intention was to do so, as her upper torso was still visible to the department’s officers. “All my lady friend car owner [sic]... please take note!” she added.

As the news spread, users on Facebook expressed their views:

Their views ranged from being supportive of the woman:

To people saying she should have just followed the dress code:

Following which, on 9 June, a JPJ public relations officer told The Star that they're investigating the woman's complaint and will look into the matter and obtain a report from the office involved

“We are investigating when and where the incident happened. If we know where it happened, we want a report from that office.”

When asked if there was a dress code for JPJ customers, he said:

“We have to dress accordingly, based on the dress code of entering a government premises. In some of our offices, a dress code signboard is put up on the walls of these offices. I believe there was one in this office.”

According to The Malay Mail:

Government departments and agencies regularly enforce dress codes and will refuse service or even entry to those who do not comply.

However, whether or not there was an official dress code for people visiting JPJ office, the government department has now published a dress code that prohibits even men from wearing sleeveless shirts

The dress code published on JPJ’s Facebook page.

Image via Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan Malaysia

JPJ, although, did not mention its reasons for the dress code:

“Visitors must dress neatly, cleanly and in accordance with Malaysian practice,” the RTD dress code read. “Practise decent dressing (T-shirts, collared T-shirts, shoes, long trousers, long skirts below the knee), especially during official business at offices at complexes.

“Visitors are prohibited from wearing indecent clothes or clothes that expose the flesh, such as the following: skirt lengths above the knee or shorts, sleeveless shirts, tight shorts or skirts and slippers,” it added.

However, Suzanne wasn't the only one.

Another woman, Pang told SAYS that she was prohibited by the security guard at Selayang Municipal Council from entering its premises and was also passed a sarong to wear when she visited its office today, 10 June.

Image via Snowpiano Pang

She was there to submit her documents related to business licencing. According to Ms. Pang, the security guard there pointed at the signboard and told her that "It's clearly stated that the dress must be over the knee, then only you are allowed to go up."

The guard then continued saying, "You must go back and change your attire now, or wear our sarong."

"I was quite upset, looking at my dress, indeed my dress isn't over my knee, but it's still considered a proper office attire. And this is not the first time I'm wearing this to government offices. So I checked with the guard again as to why I could wear this last week but not this week?"

He said, YDP just gave an order that whole of Malaysia's office must follow these rules. "So even if I allow you to go up, when the office staff see your attire, they will still ignore you. So do you still want to change to our Sarong?" the guard asked her again.

What sort of dress Ms. Pang was wearing? This:

Image via Snowpiano Pang

Ms. Pang, who wondered if it's a valid reason to reject a visitor, then calmly asked the guard, "can you tell me what's wrong with a female wearing a skirt? I just want to know. Because even though my dress is different from your signboard, why is it wrong?"

"Sorry, I can't help. I'm just following the rules," the guard told her. She then asked him, if she can't go up, can he ask his officer to come down? He said he doesn't think the officer will come down.

"I came here to settle my business license application. If you think my dress is a problem and don't allow me to go up, please ask the officer to come down and get the document from me, I'll wait here," she said, insisting that she doesn't think her dress has a problem. "This is an office dress, I won't go back and change, and I wont take your sarong, and today I must submit this document. That's it."

While she was telling him all this, another guard came and asked her the same questions, whether she wants to change the dress. She answered him the same thing. "I just want to submit my document."

There was an officer passing by. The guards then stopped him and explained him the situation. Then this officer told Ms. Pang, "no problem, let me handle it." She followed the officer and got her papers done.

On the dress code issue, Liow Tiong Lai, Transport Minister and a Member of Parliament for Bentong, Pahang, posted on his FB page that he regrets "that this dress code issue has taken place."

"I have directed for an investigation to be conducted immediately and for action to be taken," the former Health Minister wrote.

He further added that "there is no such thing as a sarong policy. We should not impose unnecessary dress code guidelines on the public. There is an immediate need to review existing guidelines."

Speaking with SAYS, Ms. Pang told us that after she lodged a formal complaint, one of the officer got in touch with her through call and told her that they will refer the case to YDP.

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