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M'sian woman told to 'cover up'

This article is more than 12 months old

Transport Department official insists she wear sarong before he attends to her

She was dressed in a blouse and a skirt that ended just above the knees.

But an officer at Malaysia's Road Transport Department (JPJ) was not impressed.

He handed her a sarong and asked her to cover up.

Ms Suzanna G L Tan had gone to the Wangsa Maju JPJ office in Gombak, Selangor, to transfer the ownership of a car she had sold, Malaysia's The Star reported.

She claimed that she was handed the sarong while she was at the counter to get a queue number. She also claimed the officer told her he would not handle her case if she did not cover up.

This was despite the fact that only her upper body was visible to the officer across the counter window.

Ms Tan posted the before and after photos on Facebook. "I do not know if I should laugh or cry," she said.

An uproar followed, with netizens slamming the attitude of the officer.

"I think the JPJ is rude for embarrassing people like that. It's not like she's wearing a bikini," wrote Syazalia Razali.

Napsiah Wan Salleh posted: "I know of a dress code for women to enter the Parliament, (that is, the) hemline must be below the knees. But JPJ? This is wacko. There is no dress code to enter a JPJ premise except that one must (be) dressed decently."

Leon Chan said: "You just cannot impose your values onto others, period."

Yesterday, the department admitted it had gone a little too far.

In a press statement, the JPJ apologised to Ms Tan and acknowledged there was no such policy.


"JPJ would like to firmly state there is no regulation that indicates visitors must be provided with a sarong. Clearly, this is an inconvenience to the visitor."

But it pointed out that visitors to its offices were subject to a dress code, just like other government departments.

The statement added that the JPJ's priority was to ensure the public was provided with pleasant and efficient service.

When contacted by The Star, Ms Tan said she did not want to make a big deal of it.

"They just handed me this thing and I knew that if I made a fuss, I would not get my transfer form signed," she said.

"I really have no more comments to make."