Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Outrage over fine for ‘revealing clothes’

Outrage over fine for ‘revealing clothes’
The Star Newspaper
Tuesday December 5, 2006

PETALING JAYA: Several women's organisations are up in arms over the decision of the Kota Baru Municipal Council (MPKB) to fine women working in retail outlets and restaurants who wear clothes deemed to be revealing.

The offending items include tight fitting blouses, pants, jeans and mini-skirts.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) executive director Ivy Josiah said the ruling was unacceptable and ridiculous, as women were always blamed for rape, sexual harassment and molest due their attire, while the men were never blamed for their behaviour.

She said the ruling was a reflection of a narrow mindset and she was wondering if they would stop their nonsense only when the women became invisible.

Josiah said everyone had the freedom to wear clothes of their choice, and that no one should dictate what a person should wear, certainly not the MPKB.

“I would like to know what is the (acceptable) level of tightness of a pair of pants or jeans, and what happens to those of us who have larger buttocks? Is the MPKB saying that we cannot wear pants or jeans as it will emphasise the buttocks?'' she asked when contacted yesterday.

Josiah said the MPKB should instead concentrate on cleaning the drains and parks, collecting rubbish and providing child care centres.

MPKB public relations officer Mohd Azman Daham said that under the local council by-law, those caught wearing outfits deemed indecent or sexy could be fined RM500.

He said the ruling was enforced due to complaints about retail assistants and waitresses wearing sexy outfits to woo male customers to their outlets and restaurants.

Wanita MCA chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen said once again Kelantan has come out with a policy to target the women.

“If men wear tight fitting jeans, is that not deemed sexy? Why is it only the women are targeted, so much so that the ruling covers non-Muslim women as well?'' she asked.

Dr Ng urged the PAS-led government not to introduce ridiculous policies. Dr Ng said that she had confidence that the women working in the retail outlets and restaurants had the appropriate sense of dress and do not need anyone telling or controlling them on what to wear.

Women's Development Collective executive director Maria Chin Abdullah wondered whether the council planned to impose the same ruling on men dressed in singlets and shorts that exposed their thighs, arms and even armpits.

“Firstly, are these gatal (lecherous) men intending to buy products or eat at the restaurants, or are they there to see how the women are dressed? If that is their purpose, then it is an insult to the mentality of Malaysian men.''

The All-Women’s Action Society (Awam) executive director Honey Tan said that Awam was totally opposed to the move, if it was intended to improve moral standards.

Forcing women to bear the burden of morality is discriminatory and a violation of their rights, said Tan.

“It is not the job of the council to become the 'moral police', and if it is concerned about the community it serves, it should encourage men and women to respect each other regardless of their dressing,'' she added.

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