PETALING JAYA, 11 June 2009: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Member of Parliament for Kulim-Bandar Baru, Zulkifli Noordin, has taken to task Wanita MCA chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun for her opposition towards the Kota Baru Municipal Council (KBMC)’s regulation of sportswear in a park.
Zulkifli “The only thing KBMC did was to regulate the wearing of decent dressing in [a] public park…I don’t see anything wrong with that ruling,” Zulkifli said in a statement today.
Zulkifli was responding to a 10 June statement by Chew that criticised the council’s enforcement of a strict dress code — affecting Muslim men, and all women — in a park in Kota Baru.
Following a report on the KBMC’s actions in Sin Chew Daily, Chew had said the council’s enforcement infringed on people’s right to dress as they chose.
According to Sin Chew, the council has outlawed revealing or tight-fitting attire for all park users. Everyone, except non-Muslim men, was also banned from sleeveless tops.
Non-Muslim males were only required to “dress appropriately” without any concrete guidelines while there were at least four specific requirements for other park users.
Zulkifli said the municipal council had “every right” to ensure that the public would be able to enjoy the park without the interference of scantily-dressed men or women.
He also refuted Chew’s claim that no one, including the government, had the right to infringe on the way people dress. Chew had said it was an internationally-recognised right.
“May I ask the madame what right is that — to wear tight shorts, mini skirts, breast hugging t-shirts, tight shorts for men?” he said.
Chew (Source: wanita.mca.org.my) “Every society has its own standards, values and ethics that it adheres to…You (Chew) have no right to impose your so-called ‘international value’ on others,” said Zulkifli.
Additionally, he cited the example of colleges in Uttar Pradesh, India, where women students were banned from wearing jeans, shorts, tight tops, and mini skirts to “protect” them from sexual harassment.
Zulkifli is known for his public comments about Islam, freedom of religion and moral codes.
On 10 June, Zulkifli also urged Muslim women’s group Sisters in Islam (SIS) to drop the word “Islam” from its name because of its position that wearing the tudung was not a must, but a personal choice.
He also suggested that SIS change its name to “Cosmopolitan Women’s Alliance” because, he said, most of its members did not wear the tudung and were unmarried.
Zulkifli was also among the 300 protestors who disrupted the Bar Council forum on conversion issues on 9 Aug 2008.
PKR has yet to take disciplinary action against Zulkifli. Party deputy president and disciplinary committee head Syed Husin Ali said in March this year the case had been “settled internally some time last year”.