Monday, 6 July 2015

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6 Jul 2015
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Malaysia-Press Release | Rein In Overzealous Dress Code Enforcement and Reject Clothing or Moral Policing

Press Release | Rein In Overzealous Dress Code Enforcement and Reject Clothing or Moral Policing

Press Release
Rein In Overzealous Dress Code Enforcement and Reject Clothing or Moral Policing
The Malaysian Bar refers to the Cabinet's decision that no dress code is necessary for members of the public who require only counter service at government departments or agencies, and the Cabinet's directive that the dress code requirements be reviewed.[1]
The Malaysian Bar also notes the various statements attributed to Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Members of Parliament[2] who have expressed their disapproval of the recent spate of incidents of overzealous and unilateral enforcement of the dress code at government departments and agencies.
It appears that the Cabinet is adopting a sensible approach to the requirement of appropriate attire in public premises.  Good governance requires that a government be people-centred, service-oriented and rights-conscious.  Government officials should facilitate easy access to public services, and not impose arbitrary or burdensome barriers on citizens in the form of clothing or moral policing.  This would be consistent with the pledge that civil servants make "to serve with goodwill and courtesy", in the Pledge of the Public Service.[3]
It is therefore very disappointing that, despite the Government's declared intentions, two separate incidents of members of the public being barred from entering government premises, on account of their attire not conforming with the dress code, were reported in the media yesterday.  In the first incident, an official at the Ministry of Defence headquarters barred a journalist from entering the building, for having exposed knees.[4]  In the second incident, security guards at the Ipoh City Council prevented a woman from entering the building, for having exposed arms.[5]
These come in the wake of the following incidents that had been previously reported in the media:
(1) On 7 May 2015, a man was barred from collecting his lost luggage from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport's Baggage Services Lost and Found section, for wearing knee-length shorts and sandals;[6]
(2) On 27 May 2015, a woman was required to wear a sarong and a shawl over her clothes before being allowed entry into the National Archives.  During a subsequent visit, she and her friend were required to don sarongs when they went to the National Archives on 10 June 2015;[7]
(3) On 8 June 2015, a woman posted on Facebook that she had been required to wear a sarong to cover her legs before being allowed to enter the Road Transport Department office in Kuala Lumpur;[8]
(4) On 10 June 2015, a woman was barred from entering the Selayang Municipal Council office, for having exposed knees;[9]
(5) On 16 June 2015, a woman was barred from entering Sungai Buloh Hospital, for having exposed knees.  She was allowed in after she wrapped her legs with a borrowed towel;[10]
(6) On 22 June 2015, two women were barred from entering the Selangor State Secretariat in Shah Alam, and asked to wear sarongs to cover their legs;[11]
(7) On 24 June 2015, a woman was barred from entering the Small Estate Unit of the Federal Territories Director of Land and Mines Office;[12] and
(8) On 25 June 2015, a woman was alleged to have been barred from entering the Balik Pulau Court Complex, due to her exposed knees.[13]
These documented incidents are disconcerting.  On the basis of the photographs taken of the persons affected (where available), the pieces of clothing deemed unacceptable by the authorities were typical of daily attire worn by ordinary Malaysians.  The clothes were neither indecent nor a source of public outrage or disturbance.  In these incidents, women have been predominantly singled out for the degrading and humiliating treatment.
A dress code that labels exposed arms or knees as unacceptable is clearly out of step with the way of life of ordinary Malaysians, who come from varied economic and social backgrounds.  It serves to victimise and oppress innocent individuals.  The imposition of such a dress code that results in a denial of access to government premises or services is an abuse of power.  It violates the affected persons' right to live with dignity and earn a livelihood, as well as their freedom of movement and expression, in breach of Articles 5 and 10 of the Federal Constitution. 
The Malaysian Bar demands that the formulation of any dress code take cognisance of the culturally-diverse backgrounds of Malaysian society.  The Government must trust the innate sense of decency of ordinary Malaysians.  Let us reject hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness.   Ultimately, a person's attire is not a measure of the person's moral standing.  A nation is not judged by the clothes that its people wears but by the heart that its people has.

Steven Thiru
Malaysian Bar

4 July 2015

[1] "Press Digest: No dress code necessary, says cabinet", The Sun Daily, 2 July 2015.
[2] (a) Ibid.;
     (b) "Enough of dress code policing", The Star Online, 3 July 2015;
     (c) "Ministry tells RTD guards to drop dress code enforcement", Malay Mail Online, 26 June 2015;
     (d) "Concerns of rising conservatism in Malaysia as dress code debate continues", Channel News Asia, 30 June 2015;
     (e) "Selangor MB: No sarong policy at state secretariat building", Malay Mail Online, 22 June 2015; and
     (f) "Parliament: Lawmakers criticise JPJ dress code", The Star Online, 9 June 2015.
[3] "Ikrar Perkhidmatan Awam", Public Service Department of Malaysia official portal.
[4] "Denied entry over dressing", The Star Online, 2 July 2015.
[5] "It's 'cover up your arms' at Ipoh City Council", The Star Online, 3 July 2015.
[7] "Fashion police creating confusion", Malay Mail Online, 24 June 2015.
[8] "Woman too indecent for RTD", The Malaysian Insider, 3 June 2015.
[10] "Woman in shorts claims barred entry at Sungai Buloh hospital", Malay Mail Online, 23 June 2015.
[12] "'Skirt too short', lawyer barred from land office told", Malay Mail Online, 29 June 2015.
[13] "Woman denied entry into court for wearing 'short' skirt", The Star Online, 25 June 2015.




Dear Sir,
"GOODS & SERVICES TAX SEMINAR 2015" exclusively organized and presented by PERSATUAN PEGAWAI KANAN KASTAM MALAYSIA (PERKASA) will take place as follows:

29th July 2015 (Tuesday) - VIVA Hotel, KUALA LUMPUR
30th July 2015 (Thursday) - IDEAL Convention Centre, SHAH ALAM

Fees - Kindly please refer the downloadable flyers & registration form below:

1) GST Flyers



Kindly share this information & registration form with your suppliers / business partners.
Registration is on a first come, first served basis and SEATS ARE LIMITED.

Click HERE for Online Registration

Your support and cooperation are appreciated.

Thanks & regards.


Malaysia-Privileges for Selangor Bar Members

Privileges for Selangor Bar Members

02nd July, 2015
Dear Members of the Selangor Bar,
The Selangor Bar Committee has successfully negotiated an agreement with Blue Wave Hotel which will provide exclusive benefits to the members of the Selangor Bar.
Members will be able to enjoy special discounts on all Food & Beverages served and on Hotel room charges.
To enable members to avail these special privileges, we were asked to provide the names of our members to the Hotel Management, for them issue the discount cards and with your respective names embossed on it.
We are also in need to seek the consent of members prior of disclosing your respective names in line with the requirement under Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA).
Please inform the Selangor Bar secretariat in writing if you have any objection of your name being given to the Blue Wave Hotel Management to enable you to enjoy all the privileges in store.
If the Selangor Bar secretariat does not receive written objections by email to : or by fax to : 03-5519 9037, within the next 14 days, it will be deemed that you have no objection and you have Consented for your name to be given to the Blue Wave Hotel (Shah Alam) management and related parties.
Thank you.
Selangor Bar Committee

To add or change your e-mail address, please fax (and not send via email) your new email address under your firm's letterhead to Selangor Bar's Secretariat at +603-5519 9037  
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