KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 ― In yet another incident over dress codes, a lawyer was last week barred from a government building for wearing a skirt that was “too short”.
According to lawyer Katy Chan, the security guard at the Federal Territories Director of Land and Mines’ office stopped her last Friday morning as she was writing down her name in the visitors’ registration book to get a visitors’ pass.
Chan said the guard told her that her skirt was “too short”, also telling her that she could not enter the building while also asking if she had a pair of pants with her to wear.
The guard also told her to read the dress code placed near the guard house, with Chan telling Malay Mail Online that it required her to wear clothing at knee level.
Chan said her skirt then was “almost touching” her knees and her knees were still visible.
“I did not argue with him. For me the guard was merely doing his job but the so-called dress code I would say is rather outdated as nothing that I was wearing is ‘menjolok mata’ (revealing).
“Not allowing someone who is not inappropriately dressed from entering the building even if they are under official duty is ridiculous,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday.
Confirming that no shawl or sarong was offered to cover her knees then, Chan said she will have to face the hassle of returning to the office this week to collect documents on behalf of her client.
Chan said this was the first time she had been stopped at the land office, adding however that she had been wearing the same skirt to the income tax department office without incident.
“I think you can have a dress code, we should also respect the dress code, but there should be some flexibility,” she said, suggesting that visitors could be advised to wear something longer in their next visit instead of asking them if they brought along pants.
She confirmed that she would not be lodging a complaint with the Land and Mines Department.
Chan posted her story on Facebook earlier last week, with the post garnering over 500 ‘likes’ and shared by over 700 Facebook users at the time of writing.
The Facebook post carried a photograph of Chan near the guardhouse in the attire that she was wearing then, with Chan saying that the same security guard was “helpful enough” to snap it for her.
Recently, several women were controversially blocked from entering public institutions and government buildings such as a Penang courthouse, a Road Transport Department (RTD) office, the Selangor state secretariat, the Sungai Buloh public hospital for wearing knee-length skirts and shorts deemed indecent.
Some of these women were given sarongs by security personnel to cover their legs to fit with the dress code and be granted entry into the buildings.
Last week, businessman and blogger Wilson Ng revealed that he was forced to don long trousers last month to enter the Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s (KLIA) Baggage Services Lost and Found section after airport security told him his knee-length shorts were inappropriate.