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Govt should review dress code guidelines, not leave it in hands of 'little Napoleons', says G25

Publish date: Thu, 23 Mar 2023, 09:11 AM

PETALING JAYA: The government should review guidelines on dress code as it is a subjective matter that rests in the hands of security guards manning government premises, says the G25 group of eminent Malays.

The group said this was because it was left to their interpretation currently and some could turn into “Little Napoleons”, especially if they were conservative or extremist.

Citing how Western music groups visiting South-East Asia were now bypassing Kuala Lumpur, G25 said that music fans must now travel outside the country to places like Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta to see their favourite stars.

"Entertainment companies have also become victims to the growing conservatism in the country.

"They have stopped promoting well-known foreign artistes in Malaysia because of recent cases where their permits were cancelled at the last minute, resulting in financial loss for the promoters.

"These are the kind of policies that can easily make foreigners and tourists worry about visiting Malaysia in case they run into difficulty with the modesty rules and regulations in the country.

"If we want to make Malaysia part of the international community, we must learn to live with other cultures and values unless they pose a threat to law and order as well as the security of the country," the group said in a statement Wednesday (March 22).

It added that understanding differences in culture, religion and personal dress styles will go a long way in helping the government’s policy to attract foreign investments into the country.

The group said that expatriates will not only find Malaysia an attractive place to visit but also stay under the “Malaysia My Second Home” programme.

Promotional efforts will fail if foreigners feel Malaysia is not a tolerant and safe place for them to visit or do business especially when Malaysian companies are turning towards foreign markets, it added.

"In addressing local sensitivities on women's attire, we may go overboard.

"However, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa's recent assurance that government hospitals have been instructed not to turn away anyone for their attire is welcomed.

"We are pleased Dr Zaliha pointed out the policy very clearly to avoid more cases where guards on duty refuse entry to women seeking treatment," it said.

The group also welcomed Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek's statement on school canteens remaining open during the fasting month.

Separately, the G25 group was pleased with the announcement by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin on the abolition of sections under the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) that restricted the freedom of students and academics.

"Malaysia must remain an open society, one that embraces different religious and social values among the races to realise the full potential of our people.

"Let us make our diversity an asset in achieving peace and lasting prosperity for the people," it said.

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