‘I thought I was dressed decently’

‘I thought I was dressed decently’
Covering up: Chai donning a jacket loaned to her by her friend at the Ipoh City Council building.
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

​​IPOH - The dress code issue continues to be in the limelight with yet another​​​​​​​ woman denied entry - this time at the Ipoh City Council building here.

Logistician Eunice Chai, 32, who was clad in a sleeveless high-collar blouse and long jeans, was stopped by security yesterday when she was there to apply for a business licence.

One of the guards commented on the condition of her sleeves - or lack of.

"He told me he couldn't let me in because my dressing did not comply with the council's kod etika (code of ethics)," said Chai.

She said that, thankfully, a friend who was with her loaned her a jacket he had in his car.

"I thought what I was wearing was decent since my legs were all covered up, so I didn't expect this treatment here.

"Based on their given dress code at the door, the appropriate dressing for non-­Muslims is a long dress with elbow-length or long sleeves.

"The weather is really hot now, and I don't think many of us would want to go out dressed like that," she added.

Chai said she went to the council some years back wearing just a T-shirt and shorts, yet she had no problem entering the premises.

The dress codes for both men and women were pasted at the entrance of the council's building.

Responding to the incident, council secretary Mohd Zakuan Zakaria said he would bring up the council's dress code in the next council meeting for a possible review.

"The issue seems to bring a negative image to the council. But the guard was only carrying out his duty.

"We will discuss this with the new mayor and other councillors on whether a review is necessary," he said.

Last month, members of the public had raised incidents of running foul of the dress code at various places - the Wangsa Maju Road Transport Department in Kuala Lumpur, Sungai Buloh Hospital in Selangor and Balik Pulau Court Complex, Penang.

On Thursday, a reporter from The Star was barred from entering the Defence Ministry headquarters in Kuala Lumpur for her exposed knees. She had to put on a long skirt to gain entry.

MCA Central Committee member Datuk Tan Chin Meng said the latest incident in Ipoh violated the Cabinet's reported directive to the Chief Secretary to the Government to review the dress code.

"A few months ago, when the public wore similar outfits, there was no issue. The sudden change by the local authority is puzzling," said Tan, also Ipoh Barat MCA division chairman.

In Kuching, Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak president, called for a stop to the "overzealous" policing of the dress code at government offices and official events.

"These are the most ridiculous incidents to be happening in multi-racial Malaysia," he said.

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