Elderly pair barred from Ipoh City Council for wearing Bermuda shorts

The Star article showing the elderly pair denied entry at the Ipoh City Council building.
The Star article showing the elderly pair denied entry at the Ipoh City Council building.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — Two elderly siblings were prohibited from entering the Ipoh City Council building for wearing Bermuda shorts that purportedly violated the local authority’s dress code.

In the latest incident involving citizens being denied entry at government departments over their dressing, The Star quoted Chinese-language paper Sin Chew Daily as reporting that a security guard had told 68-year-old Huang Zheng Zhou and his sister, Xia Nv, last Thursday that their shorts ended above the knee.

The Star reported that another woman, 49-year-old Chen Mei Lan, was initially also stopped from entering the building, even though her hemline went past the knee, as her blouse was deemed see-through.

Malay Mail Online reported Friday that confusion over the Ipoh City Council’s vague ruling seemingly instructing visitors to wear clothes that fully cover their limbs has compelled the council to issue a new dress code with clearer guidelines.

In purportedly appropriate dressing approved by the Ipoh City Council, the council’s original dress code shows men in trousers and a Malay, Chinese and Indian woman in what appears to be traditional costume like a baju kurung and salwar kameez, except that the Chinese woman is donning a loose, full-length skirt and a top with sleeves up to her elbows, instead of a traditional cheongsam with capped sleeves and a thigh-high slit.

Incidents involving both women and men who were turned away from government buildings for purportedly violating the dress code have occurred at a Road Transport Department (RTD) office in Kuala Lumpur, a Penang courthouse, the Selangor state secretariat, the Sungai Buloh public hospital, and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, among others.

Some cases involved women being given sarongs by security personnel, and in one instance, something completely inappropriate like a towel, to cover their legs in order to gain entry into the buildings. 

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