PETALING JAYA - Hospital Sungai Buloh has apologised after a woman wearing shorts was denied entry to the facility until she covered up her legs.
After news about the June 16 incident went viral yesterday, hospital director Dr Khalid Ibrahim said the incident "shouldn't have happened", emphasising that neither the Health Ministry nor the hospital management has any policy to discriminate based on attire.
"We apologise for the incident. We do not bar anyone from entering the hospital because of what they are wearing. However, we encourage the public to dress decently when visiting patients," he said when contacted yesterday.
A Facebook user by the name of Nisha Daddygal posted yesterday that a few security guards told her that she could not enter the hospital last Tuesday because she was wearing shorts.
As a result, her father had to borrow a towel from a relative who was warded there so she could use it to cover her legs.
"The security guards said 'ini arahan dari Kementerian Kesihatan' (this is a directive from the Health Ministry)," she said.
Her father, who wished to be known as Annan, said the dress code at the hospital was illogical.
"I don't mind if the dress code was for offices or for official functions, but this is different. They should not do this.
"If they can impose such a ruling in a hospital, then they can impose it anywhere, even by the roadside," said Annan, 52, who claimed he was unaware that a dress code for a hospital existed.
"I read about the Road Transport Department (JPJ) sarung incident, but figured that it was different because that was in an office," said Annan, who argued that even if the hospital's dress code was available online, the public should be given some leeway.
"Educated people can go to the website and find out but people like me, we don't know," said Annan, who also alleged his daughter was singled out from many others who also did not follow the dress code.
"I pointed out to the guard that a few people wearing slippers and shorts were let through. The guard said that was fine as the shorts touched the knee but kept quiet on the slippers," said Annan, who has accepted the official apology.
Dr Khalid said there might have been some "miscommunication" with the hospital guard, who allegedly denied the woman entry.
"We have lodged a complaint with the security company about the guard in question," he said.
On his Facebook page, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah replied to a user who posted up a picture of the hospital's dress code, saying: "Please be mindful that this is only an advisory" before adding the "issue needs clarity and better communication".