A woman whose dress extended below her knees was denied entry at the Wisma Persekutuan complex in Johor Baru, Malaysia, after a security guard deemed her outfit as “provocative and indecent”.
Lawyer Norman Fernandez said his wife Leni, 43, was heading to the government complex canteen for lunch at around 1pm on Monday, May 9, when she was stopped from entering.
“My wife was wearing a long-sleeved dress that ended around 7cm below her knees, with closed-toed shoes yet the male security guard told her ‘Pakaian awak menjolok mata dan tidak sopan’ (your attire is provocative and indecent).
“After that, Leni called me and I walked over from my office to learn more about the situation. The guard also insisted that non-Muslims should wear clothes that ended at the ankles or wear trousers at the very least.
“We found this quite bizarre as his job is to man the guard post, not assess people’s attire. I think he was just imposing his own beliefs and moral values on others in deciding what they should or should not wear,” Fernandez told newsmen.
His wife, who works at his law firm, has been visiting the canteen within the government complex for lunch for years and never had such an encounter before this, he said.
Fernandez added they walked past the guard post after telling the security guard that he wanted to speak to his superior.
After more than an hour, no other security guards or officers came to speak to them, he said.
“We understand that visitors are required to dress appropriately when visiting government offices. As long as we are not wearing revealing sundresses or short pants, I think security guards should not expect everyone to conform to their idea of ‘appropriate dressing’,” he added.
A check at the complex entrance found a sign disallowing entry to those wearing indecent and provocative clothing.