While France and other European countries spend their time passing rules to prevent Muslim women from wearing burkas or headscarves, a Malaysian city decided in January to restrict what non-Muslim women can wear to work.
Kuala Terengganu’s city council is dominated by members of the Islamic PAS party and in January passed a law designed to prevent women from wearing “revealing” clothes to work. According to a BBC story on the new law,
Even non-Muslims will be banned from wearing short sleeved blouses, tight jeans, skirts with slits, or skirts cut above the knee.
Muslim women will have to wear a tudong, a headscarf drawn tightly about the face.
The traditional loosely draped Malay headscarf will be banned and the rules will apply to all work places.
Malaysian city rules on women. Jonathan Kent. The BBC, January 5, 2004.
Nik Aziz Nik Mat, chief minister of the Malaysian state of Kelantan, created a controversy in September with his declaration that Muslim women should avoid wearing lipstick or perfume outside the home because it could stir up sexual passions and increase the risk of them being raped.
Nik Aziz has a habit of making such statements about women, including his argument that the state should only employ ugly women because they would be unlikely to get married and leave their jobs.
Dr. Ng Yen Yen of the Malaysian Association of Youth Club said of Nik Aziz’s statement,
I find it ridiculous that a leader of today can have that perception of violence against women. Little girls with no make up and perfume have became rape victims.
He never fails to shock me over how little he understands gender issues. What sort of society is he creating in Kelantan and Terengganu?
What sort of society, indeed.
Malaysian minister: ‘Lipstick invites rape’. Jonathan Kent, The BBC, September 2, 2003.
Lipstick-rape comment raises a stink. Izatun Shari, The Star.Com, September 2, 2003.