‘No saree’ dress code irks Indian lawmaker in Malaysia


You may not have heard the name V Sivakumar before this. But why we felt it was important to mention him is because this ethnic Indian MP from  Batu Gajah city in Malaysia is in the news for voicing his opinion on a dress code issue which concerns an Indian attire. To elaborate, an invitation card sent to him for a special eid-ul-fitr dinner by the Ipoh City Counsil mentioned a dress code which stated that women can wear anything except a saree. This offended the MP considering the diversity of the MPs that there is in Malaysia.

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He released a statement showing his disappointment at the blunder in the dress code specification for the event that is going to be held on July 1. “I do not intend to raise a racial issue, but I’m compelled to write this statement because the Indian community has been insulted. In the invite, it is clear that the attendees are encouraged to be dressed in their traditional wear except ‘saree’,” he said, as reported by a Malaysian news website The Star.

Though the Ipoh City Council was quick to clarify that the invitees are free to wear a saree, Sivakumar was nevertheless annoyed by the neglectful behaviour of the city council. The city council also released a statement stating their misrepresentation of dress code.

The DAP lawmaker questioned the city council about what the Indian women attendees are going to wear as traditional outfit other than a saree. He further questioned the future of this which might be a complete restriction on women wearing saree even at the workplace and anywhere in the country.

“I therefore call for both the Federal and the state governments to right the wrong. I demand an explanation,” he said, claiming that the incident had angered Malaysians.

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Although Sivakumar’s reaction was a bit extreme, the restriction on women’s dress code certainly calls for an explanation. Even if the city council later allowed women to wear the saree, why was it even restricted in the first place?  These irrelevant constraints are not at all in good taste, nevertheless it is heartening to see a man take up an issue regarding women at an administrative level.

Feature Image Credit: The rocket

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