Wear what you won't in Malaysia

This article in The Straits Times posted here, since I don't trust their permalinks. All emphasis mine.

Now, dress code for non-Muslims

By Reme Ahmad

A NEW dress code in conservative Terengganu will ban non-Muslim women from wearing tight jeans or short skirts in the office, while Muslim women must cover their hair completely.

In a crackdown by the Kuala Terengganu Municipal Council, even a loose headscarf worn by a Muslim woman would be unacceptable - her hair is to be fully covered by the tudung (headdress).

Companies that do not comply with the strict standards could have their business licences revoked, while the employers could be fined RM250 (S$113), council president Sulaiman Abdullah said.

'The PAS government will not tolerate females, including those from different religions, wearing such clothes during working hours,' he told reporters in Kuala Terengganu on Sunday.

Mr Sulaiman is also a state assemblyman from Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), which rules the state.

'Employers will be responsible for making sure their female workers dress appropriately,' he added.

Figure-hugging or revealing dresses, tight jeans, short-sleeved blouses, long skirts with slits or mini skirts are not allowed at the workplace.

The Terengganu state government has been ruled by PAS for four years, and this is the latest in a series of controversial announcements.

The state government and PAS leaders have raised eyebrows and sparked anger by suggesting separate swimming pools for men and women, calling for the suspension of commercial and entertainment activities during prayer times, and for 'properly attired' female tourist guides to guide only women tourists.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang yesterday defended the latest move, saying the municipal council was supported by its decision-making council members, who included non-Muslims.

'There are non-Muslim representatives in the municipal council and they agreed to this,' he said. 'This is based on the wishes of the people of Terengganu for decent dressing.'

As in neighbouring Kelantan, where PAS also rules, Terengganu has imposed the wearing of the tudung for Muslim women in the government sector while strongly encouraging those in the private sector to follow suit.

But this is the first time that rules are being laid down for a dress code for non-Muslim women.

Mr Sulaiman, however, said the dress code was in fact introduced last year, but that serious checks to ensure compliance with the code would be made only this year.

'We are going to be more serious this year. But it will be implemented gradually as the dress code is more of a morality issue,' he said.

The council will soon distribute circulars on the code to businesses and visit premises with Islamic preachers in tow to advise Muslim women who flout the ruling, he added.

Soon, if you want a female tour guide (and you're male, or I would assume a male accompanying a female - i.e., a husband), if you want to dress without government or religious interference, or if you want to conduct any activity during prayer times in Malaysia, tough.

Hope they don't wonder why their tourism income is dropping...

They'll probably blame it on those damn Jews anyway.

Written by Andrew Ittner in misc on Tue 06 January 2004. Tags: asia, commentary, government, international, rights