Home TA Online Controversial dress code: How did we come to this? 

Controversial dress code: How did we come to this? 

We have so many other worrying social problems, and yet we seem more concerned about enforcing this dress code

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The news that several people in Malaysia were denied entry into government buildings, including hospitals and even police stations, for not complying with a dress code can no longer be ignored. 

Such dress codes were apparently being enforced all over the country. 

Who was the architect of this ‘moral’ dress code in Malaysia? 

Is blaming ‘little Napoleons’ an attempt to pull wool over everyone’s eyes? Could it be a strategy to circumvent public protest? 

What is so indecent about wearing clean knee-length pants? 

Have we suddenly become so puritanical in outlook that we are now bent on enforcing the ‘covering up’ of even the part of our legs below the knees? 

How would enforcing such codes make our nation more virtuous and free of corruption?

When Islam was already well anchored in the pre and post-independence era, the people of this land even donned uniforms which included knee-length short pants and knee-length dresses. 

It was not at that time considered indecent, nor was it deemed a threat to Muslims. It was not even about religious sensitivities. 

But why is there now the sudden coercive enforcement of this new ‘Islamic’ dress code – so that there was even a counter for a guard to issue sarongs to those who did not comply? 

And let’s also consider the case in Kelantan where people had notices issued against them or were reprimanded or “counselled” for wearing shorts in a restaurant.

People in an emergency predicament have even been denied entry into a police station.

When tourists throng our shopping paradises in hot pants and braless blouses, it does not seem to be a problem. 

READ MORE:  Much ado about a students' dress code

Prostitution is still a thriving business in the country. That too is not a concern. 

Drug addiction in the country is a lost battle; let’s not deny it! 

Corruption remains rooted in the heart of the nation’s governance. The battle against such ingrained corruption is tough.

Even the brutal murder of a Mongolian woman has not seen real closure after almost two decades. 

Against this scenario of eroding social values, it seems that enforcing this controversial dress code somehow became the nation’s top priority. 

Either the “Madani” (civil and compassionate) government of Anwar Ibrahim steps out and makes an official stand on this matter now.

Or the nation will earn more brickbats from more progressive nations, including those in the Asean region.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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pat Adam
pat Adam
16 Jan 2024 11.12pm

from a progressive modern secular country , we moved to a Twilight Zone instead of looking and Jordan and Turkey we have looked elsewhere and got lost

Khoo Soo Hay
Khoo Soo Hay
24 Dec 2023 12.01pm

The sarong has been the traditional dress for Malays, and other Malaysians, especially the Chinese at home, for that matter.

Walter Gomez
Walter Gomez
24 Dec 2023 11.56am

These are not isolated incidents as they seem to appear on the surface. There seems to be a concerted effort by some quarters to move Malaysia toward a more conservative society. This in turn will benefit political parties that place emphasis on ‘Race and Religion’. Common sense tells us that ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ is key to the progress of any nation. But for some, political power and the benefits to self that comes with it over-rides everything else.

Raymond Rayan
Raymond Rayan
24 Dec 2023 9.14am

Well said. When will the PM put a needed stop to these religious bigots before the country is damned racially, religiously and economically. It have to stop before its too late. Making a mockery using religion sentiments berading our intelligence and multi racial and religious mix.

23 Dec 2023 2.48pm

Well said.

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