PETALING JAYA - Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has been told by the Transport Ministry to give Muslim stewardesses the option to don Syariah-compliant uniforms.
In a parliamentary written reply to Ahmad Marzuk Shaary (PAS-Bachok), acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin said airlines had the freedom to choose their own cabin crew outfits, as long as they followed security standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
"The Transport Ministry has asked the national airline to allow or give an option to their Muslim stewardesses to wear Syariah-compliant uniforms ," he said.
Hishammuddin said Malaysia Airlines had informed the Ministry that its kebaya-styled uniform reflected the carrier's "Malaysian Hospitality" identity.
"It is also the airline's commercial decision to determine the choice of their uniform based on their corporate image," he said.
In his question, Ahmad asked the Transport Ministry when MAS would impose dress codes with aurat (Islamic modesty) requirements and prohibit the serving of alcoholic drinks.
Hishammuddin said there were no plans to remove alcoholic drinks from flight menus as this was normal international flight practice.
He added that the absence of a ban did not mean MAS encouraged its passengers to drink.
However, Hishammuddin said the Ministry would ask national airlines to consider safe journey prayer recitals prior to takeoff.
"That is a good suggestion. The Ministry will ask national airlines to consider this," he said.
The flight, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later, over the South China Sea.
It was supposed to land in Beijing at 6.30am the same day.
Search and recovery efforts have been ongoing for 103 days since it went missing.
Attempts to reach MAS were unsuccessful.