Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dress Code Controversy

Latest Update: The Dress Code decree by UUM has been retracted. See Sinchew (headlines today) or Oriental Daily for more reports.


Ah, this must be one of the favourite issue for our Malaysian leaders. If only they have the same amount of passion when it comes to raising academic standards at our local schools and institutions of higher learning. I've written on the tudung controversy at Universiti Islam Antarabangsa previously, and now Universiti Utara Malaysia faces a similar controversy.

I cannot for the life of me figure out what is wrong with the prohibited dress code illustrated on the right above. Can you?

I don't have to say much about the above issue for Clare Ng of UUM had plenty to rant about it here on her excellent blog.
As I’ve ranted and criticised in countless posts before, this university is seriously crappy. Everything here is ridiculous including the rules and regulations especially their emphasis on dress code for their student.

Almost all the non-Muslim female students here wear similar attire to attend lectures, enter the library, see the doctor, dealing with official matter, etc (Yes, it is a MUST!).
She's funny too.
They had the nerve to come up with something this shitty without even conducting a proper survey around the campus. Where to get attire like the fourth girl on the left nowadays? So out-dated fashion where to get?

This is my final year here and I do not want to create any trouble for myself but this kind of ridiculous rules and regulations are getting on my nerves. Why do they have to come up with all these nonsense when they have a lot of other more important issues to skirt?
From the "approved" dress codes above, it appears that for non-Muslims, you are either expected to be suited up entirely, or you'll have to be in baju kurung.

I went to one of the top schools in the UK. Most of the time, I'm in track tops, track pants (badly torn by the final year) and worse, flip-flops. I attend lectures in old t-shirts and torn jeans. And I certainly wasn't the worst dressed nor was I not the norm. I can only speculate that with the decline in the quality of university administrators over the past decades, the focus on form now overwhelms the attention which should be paid to substance.

If anyone out there still insist that there isn't a religious and cultural assimilation (as opposed to integration) agenda and process happening in our country's schools and institutions of higher learning, he or she must be living in a totally different world.

Read also Enki's account of the same issue.

Oh, did you know that students are also "strongly encouraged" to open accounts with Bank Islam? Check out Clare's post here:
As I went about the campus attending lectures and going to the library, I noticed a lot of juniors as well as some seniors from my batch are wearing our Bank Islam ATM card around their necks! Well, the ATM card doubles as our metric card a.k.a. our identity card in the university. From what I heard from the juniors, memos had been passed that students MUST wear the ATM card around their necks like a dog tag! Failing to do so will cause us to become RM50 poorer! WTH!!!
They are absolutely out of their minds.

Footnote: This dress code issue is also reported in Oriental Daily today. However, I'm unable to find the same story online.


Anonymous said...

Is there nothing else to do that one has to decide the "proper" attire or dress code? It's not as if one wears singlet, bikini or super mini skirt to the uni. No students and researchers around the world would laugh at Msia for wasting time on dress code, saying that the ride panel is inappropriate. Where's the common sense??? put the energy in more important subject, raise the standard, more equity and quality. Dress code, give me a break.

Anonymous said...

I guess this is something the university officials want to deviate attention from, that is, the poor education quality. However, I have a very strong feeling that it could be the islamization of the country's higher educational institutes, including non-muslims students...

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely ridiculous! The U admin are doing their best to curtail the freedom of their students as most religious zeolots and bigots always do. Where's the student activists? Student leaders? What can we expect from them in the future? Future leaders? My foot!

Anonymous said...

I think that they should propose that the proper dress code also should cover the eyes.

Anonymous said...

obviously the admin is more concerned on dress code rather than the quality of the qualtiy of sutudents to be produced by the university. what is there in dressing proper but brainless?

Say Lee said...

I can't either, figure out what's prohibitive about the attire on the right panel, except to note that they are not photographs of actual people, unlike those on the left panel.

Go figure!

Anonymous said...

The next guideline will be on your eating behaviour followed by shitting procedure.

Anonymous said...

They never state Chinese and Indian costume not allowed. so wear those to skool.

If they dare to do that, whack them for being racist. Bring it to international court and let the University name go down into records.

Anonymous said...

Those 'dibenarkan' should be the dresscode for office. They have plenty of years ahead to dress like that. Imagine the budget involved to purchase such wardrobe not to mention how restrictive the young people feel.

Antabax said...

guys, its the rules of the university. its up to them la. if dont like it, just change to another university. this is not a country, its just a university. so you can apply 'you tak suka, you kluar' here.

Anonymous said...

Nice Say Lee!

I did not notice that earlier...

People who dons the "not allowed" attire are NOT REAL people and thus are not allowed to interact with real people or to enter libraries etc.

Anonymous said...

I pray for hot weather.

And electrical outrages, resulting in no air conditioning, especially for the Management people of the University.

And may these people wear multiple layers of thick clothing to protect their modesty.

Dangerous Variable said...

I think it is a bloody waste of time to even think about a dress code. Where is the common sense relating academic achievements and the dress code?

John Lee said...

As far as I can tell, the problem with the male attire on the left is that the shirt is untucked; the problem with the female attire is that the skirts are short.

UUM students should try wearing long skirts that cover the ankles and tuck their shirts in. :p

Seriously, though...there's nothing to be said except that this isn't too surprising.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Thanks for bringing this issue to light and linking me up. Some corrections to be made here though, I am CLARE NG not Clare ENG and my link is, not wonder I didn't get your link to my blog...

Read this:
Some idiot come out and say something already...nothing surprising though!

Anonymous said...

I have very fond childhood memories of visiting my mum at UUM (while she was studying there) and cobbling together a most amusing and uncomfortable costume in order to be allowed in the library (since my entire wardrobe at the time consisted of school uniform and hand-me-down T-shirts and shorts). But yes I can see how dressing like that every day might be a bit much. ;-)

H said...

Probably many writers/readers had associate the ATM card and dress code issue, got to do with the Islamisation of our Public unis. I think its not, my guess has to do with our culture (the so called eastern values). So 'religious extremism' tag for this post is not appropriate, I guess.

First of all, Baju Kurung is a cultural thing. And, asking all female non Muslims to 'cover-up' like Muslim (in Msian context which is baju kurung) is not appropriate, worse, imposing veil.
But then we shouldnt put the blame on Islam either, as Islam does not impose nonMuslims to 'cover-up' like in the dress code.
Probably more culturally appropriate, if they were imposed to wear loose/decent (whatever u called it) clothes, if the dress code is so important to our unis.
Even school students can wear skirts!

Just to broaden up the readers mind, the excerpt below is from the Bible
New Testament, 1 Corinthians 11:6 (American Standard Version)
"For if a woman is not veiled, let her also be shorn: but if it is a shame to a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be veiled."

Anonymous said...

For some people, time stands still. They do not know what progress is. They continue to live in ancient times. Perhaps they should ride a camel instead of a car. And not watch television or use a cell phone as it might be haram. The issue of use of indelible ink for the elections has been referred to the religious people to decide whether its haram or halal.

Some of you wonder what is the problem with the attire that is not allowed. Well for some still living and longing for ancient times, they will get aroused if they see this kind of dressing. And can't study or do their jobs.

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine a typical faculty meeting. For 55 minutes, the dressing code and things like kejatuhan maruah will be widely debated. Then they will move to the next agendum on academic content, which will be quickly summed up in 5 minutes as nobody will have anything useful to say - not unlike for the first 55 minutes, actually.

H said...

Anon 7/23/2007 06:07:00 PM,

Comparing this with transportation is a completely diff matter. A quick question. Show me any verse saying "Thou should only ride camel" since u had given the camel example which clearly relate to Islam.

Regarding yr argument that the ruling is only for the ancient time, Are we human diff at that time compared to now? I dont think so. And the Creator know what is the best for us. This is a lengthy issue, really hope ull find the answer one day.
this post is not about the religion, its time to leave the debate anywhere else.

But I feel irk when Muslims doing this thing, imposing whats not been asked in the religion, which had torn the image of Islam.

And bout the last sentence in yr 1st para, there is no such thing in Islam, that is from a misunderstood guy,
Im sure u know them well, theyll use all kind of methodology to remain in power, till the extend of using the name of God. Sad.
Im here just to stress that ISLAM IS NOT GUILTY!

Anonymous said...

UUM aspires to be a world-class university and is setting the dress code for other universities to emulate.

UUM had conducted a study and discovered that exposed female knees and the parts below knees are too distracting for university administrators, lecturers and students, and will lead to intellectual decadence in academia and uncontrolled emotions running amok.

zewt said...

there... how much can we trust the mainstream media...

Anonymous said...

When you say a religion is progressive, civilisational etc, what you are really saying is that you want to move forward and not be permanently stuck in time. God wants you be forward looking and progressive too but the problem is many want time to stand still for them.

Western religions have constantly moved forward throughout the ages evolving itself for the better but still keeping on to the main core teachings and beliefs e.g. the Christian church has removed the requirement that their women must wear veils especially during church services. And they allow services in native languages. These reforms were made as recent as 1960s after much consultations, discussions and review by their governing religious authorities and has become standard practice.

Be aware that there is the Old Testament and the New Testament and what Jesus pbuh preached and clarified.(Just as some ulamas would huddle on some issue and come out with a fatwa).

Why do some people continue to be so narrow minded and narrowly focused to pick up sentences here and there to "hit" out at others? What is their hidden agenda? That they are saints while the others sinners? That they are perfect and others not? That their religion is purer than the other?

For those who choose to remain trapped in time, good luck to you. Amin.

j o e l said...

hehe. anonymous #1 said 'ride' panel =D

Say Lee said...

Some shirts are meant to be worn untucked, like a batik shirt, which does not go with a tie either.

So is that tantamount to banning batik shirt as well?

Anonymous said...

to a certain extend, it is the law enforcers who do not know how to interpret the pictures. most likely, they take it that those 4 examples are the only permittable attires, and this spell only trouble to the students. it can be argued that the 4 examples serve to show that what kind of example attires that are consider acceptable and can be vary from there.

Anonymous said...

he he...this is the problem of putting monkeys in the varsity admin....

like that the primary and secondary school uniform also not allowed....

this country has gone to to the dogs...

Anonymous said...

As far as kolot thinking is concerned, they've done the job by giving you this warning. So that they can say "don't blame the rapist if you were wearing revealing dress, we had warned you!"

tzarina said...


Universities in Msia really take the cake for being some of the dumbest around. They concentrate on getting ISO certification, taking part in commercial exhibitions that carry no weight and are dubious, and monitoring how students dress!

This clearly shows the 3rd world mentality that they try so hard to avoid. Especially the mentality of the men in the administrations...looks like they get all hot and bothered when a woman walks around in a skirt or pants! Who is to say that their dirty minds will not continue imagining what's inside the woman's dress even if she is wearing a baju kurung? Probably they will look EVEN HARDER.


Anonymous said...

100% sure that the rankings of Malasian public universities are going to drop drastically again this year.

Anonymous said...

Hehehe will "dress properly" give us a boost in quality of education and also increase in good research and patents and publications in REAL publications?

But then again, dressing properly will not see our global ranking drop much, since we cannot even make the rank in the first place!

Anonymous said...

as a foreigner, this is one of the things that most annoys and angers me about malaysia!

sankochan said...

fuiyo~~ luckily I'm going to study in overseas university... or else, I'll get saman everyday and I wont even pay! It rhymes!!

I'll be terrible gangsta there until they will have to throw me out. But yea, it's not what you wear, it's what's in your brain that counts.

Anonymous said...

LOL! that's just typically malaysian. I for one don't believe that stuffing students in wat Malaysian authorities deem as " appropriate" clothing would necessarily make them better students or even better perceived by the public. It's quality that counts. I'm a med student currently starting a year of research in Australia, and I just got a reply from my supervisor as to my enquiry of the dress code (seeing as we'd be recruiting patients from a leading hospital here). His answer? " I will not deem to tell a young lady what she may or may not wear. However, you seem to have good judgement in that regard". And I can quite honestly say that what I've worn so far, while appropriate with norms here, would have authorities back home howling with outrage! Despite the lack of so called "appropriate" attire, australia doesn't seem to have much problem churning out world class researchers and doctors! Just my observations..... :P

Anonymous said...

So... what do we wear at the swimming pool?

Anonymous said...

The real issue is not the dress code. It is the means to an end: it's our BN government's way, through public universities, to drill fear, obedience, and subservience into our young citizens' mind - so that, after graduation, these young electorates remain docile under BN's control. Under fear of retribution, they are conditioned to vote for BN.

Anonymous said...

Yet again, a Malaysian university has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Thank the stars I chose to study in Singapore. Although foreigners here are shunned by the locals (they think that foreign talent would take away their scholarships, university places, jobs), at least I can wear shorts and flip flops to lectures. =]But the lecturers will kick you out if you're wearing slippers for lab sessions. XD

Nor Izzatina Abdul Aziz said...

why wear flip flop or shorts to class..the lecturer theater/classroom/lab are so cold. Talk about global warming.Honestly I wear thick clothes to class everyday and sometime put on the sweater.

As for the matric card, in my university even though it is a requirement to hang them around your neck, less than 10% do it. The staff did not do it, then why should the students do it. Yup some have been sued. For my entire 3 years here I only wear my matric card in the first week while the rest of the time it is safely in my wallet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your valuable contribution!

Anonymous said...

Towards A World Class University 2010 ?

I received university summon today for having long hair. I’m not surprise because last few weeks university hostel officer refused to give me a room for the same reason. (Actually I didn’t apply for hostel but the university wants to force all students to stay in hostel and they credit the fees in my account. So I went to get a room key simply because I paid for it.)

But what I surprise is what behind the university summon sheet. It lists all the ‘kesalahan’ which some are not practical at all. Student can get summon for not wearing formal attire on Monday and not allowed to go inside library (3-J). I went to NUS Central Library and students are allowed to in as long as they wear something.

Senarai Kesalahan-kesalahan

1. Rambut
a. Rambut berekor / panjang / berwarna / berfesyen rambut tidak kemas

2. Kad Matrik
a. Tidak memakai / pamerkan
b. Menggunakan kad matrik pelajar lain
c. Mengubahsuai / meminda butiran
d. Kad matrik rosak (butiran tidak jelas)
e. Menampalkan pelekat / bahan lain sehingga menutup butiran dan pengenalan

3. Tatacara pakaian
a. Berpakaian tidak sopan / terlalu mendedahkan tubuh / menjolok mata seperti berskirt di atas paras lutut / berseluar pendek, baju T tanpa kolar / lendan baju terlalu singkat, baju tanpa lengan, berseluar / berskirt ketat, berselipar / sandal yang tidak bertali di belakang kaki
b. Siswi memakai pakaian yang menutup muka (purdah/burka)
c. Memakai topi / bendana semasa melakukan urusan rasmi dengan pihak Universiti
d. Siswa tidak dibenarkan berpakaian menyerupai wanita dan siswi tidak dibenarkan berpakaian menyerupai lelaki
e. Siswa memakai gelang tangan / subang / rantai / anting-anting / perhiasan diri
f. Siswi memakai lebih dari satu anting-anting / subang di telinga / hidung
g. Siswi beragama Islam memakai subang di hidung
h. Pelajar dilarang membuat “TATOO” di mana-mana anggota badan
i. Pelajar berpakaian tidak kemas / bersih dan sesuai dengan amalan biasa masyarakat Malaysia
j. Hari Berpakaian Kemas (tali leher / kasut / kemeja / bersarong / skirt labuh / blouse lengan panjang / baju kurung)

4. Lalulintas
a. Tidak memiliki pelekat kenderaan UTM yang sah mengikut sesi
b. Memasuki kawasan larangan (Pusat Akademik)
c. Meletak kenderaan di tempat larangan
d. Menghalang / mengganggu laluan kenderaan
e. Meletak kenderaan di tempat larangan
f. Meletak kenderaan di ruangan khas untuk staf / pelawat Universiti
g. Meminda / mengubahsuai pelekat kenderaan
h. Tidak mematuhi arahan papan tanda lalulintas
i. Tidak memiliki / membawa lesen memandu yang sah
j. Kenderaan tidak memiliki cukai jalan
k. Lain-lain kesalahan sepertimana termaktub di bawah Ordinan lalulintas Jalan 1958 dan semua perundangan

Is this World Class Learning Environment ? OMG

Anonymous said...

UUM not in world ranking, hope he going to drop out of the list,

Dont care on UUM, lousy uni.

Go UK, US uni!!!

Anonymous said...

Although foreigners here are shunned by the locals (they think that foreign talent would take away their scholarships, university places, jobs),
Doesn't this happen in every country? America, Britain, Australia, Dubai, all of India (you cannot imagine the amount of protectionist policies in this country calling for other to hire their people on "fair" footing) and even here in Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

Although foreigners here are shunned by the locals (they think that foreign talent would take away their scholarships, university places, jobs),

Doesn't this happen in every country? America, Britain, Australia, Dubai, all of India (you cannot imagine the amount of protectionist policies in this hypocritical country who is calling for others to hire their people on "fair" footing) and even here in Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

The dress code is absurd.
I sincerely understand if the DISALLOWED involves miniskirts and such shit, but normal working attire? wth, might as well make it uniform la.

And the ATM card thing. WTH!


But then, this is MALAYSIAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

now my university set the new law that all the shirt must cover bottom....this is the silent act that force us to wear baju kurung....well...what can i do??

Anonymous said...

hah..whats that !!??.. I used to live in Malaysia before, but I'm not a Malaysian, i thought about going to Malaysia back again for my further studies ..but like that lah..hmm..
is it like that in all unis ?
greetings from the cold Europe..

Anonymous said...

come on lah
if you have a problem with those things, stay away lah.
org lain okay aja.