KOTA BARU, Malaysia - Hair salon operators here are fuming following verbal warnings from the Kota Baru Municipal Council to remove posters featuring models who did not cover their heads (tutup aurat).
One salon operator, who only wanted to be known as Ong, said they had been told by enforcement officers that the posters placed in front of their salons were deemed "too sexy".
Ong said she was shocked when five officers turned up at her salon yesterday afternoon to caution her about it.
"However, they did not force us to bring down the posters. All I did was hear them out. But I could not understand why they wanted to do so. It is not stated in our permits.
"I do not intend to take down the posters. They merely show pictures of men and women in different hairstyles. What type of poster is deemed to be decent?" she said in an interview.
Ong said this was the first time she experienced council enforcement officers advising her on the matter.
"They could be wasting their time. Surely salon operators would be allowed to display posters such as these," she said.
Another salon operator at KB Mall, who declined to be named, was also "lectured" by enforcement officers about the huge posters that were not considered decent.
"I do not see the point of such a visit by the council officers," she said.
State Local Government, Housing, Health and Environment committee chairman Datuk Abdul Fattah Mahmood, when contacted, said that he was in a mosque and could not comment yet.
A check by The Star showed that some salon operators had closed shop temporarily in anticipation of the visit by the enforcement officers.
According to China Press, the officers took photographs of the salons before they left.
It also quoted a salon operator as saying that he had been told that the posters should not be placed on the glass window or doors facing the road.
The salon operator who had been in the business for 30 years said this was the second time in the past three years that he had been told to remove the posters.
In December last year, the Kelantan government received flak when it refused to back down from enforcing its gender-segregation rules for unisex salons where women are prohibited from cutting the hair of men and vice-versa.