Senator: Malaysian stewardesses’ should change their sexy uniforms to shariah-compliant ones

Their uniforms should portray Malaysia as a Muslim country.

Kayla Wong | December 12, 2017 @ 11:18 pm

Malaysian flight stewardesses’ sexy uniforms should be changed to shariah-compliant ones, said senator Datuk Hanafi Mamat.

According to Bernama, the UMNO division head for Pasir Mas said that shariah-compliant uniforms for flight stewardesses serving the country’s airline companies can better portray its image as a Muslim country with “strong Eastern values”.

The senator was speaking during the debate on the Supply Bill 2018 at the Dewan Negara, or the upper house of Malaysia’s Parliament on Monday (Dec. 11).

Uniforms should reflect Malaysia as a Muslim country

He said that current uniform standards are not in line with Islamic values:

We are proud that Malaysia is an Islamic country with its own cultural identity, but when our flight stewardesses dress up sexily and disrespectfully, this will give tourists who use the services of our national carriers the wrong impression.

He also said that the move would not hurt the airline companies because their survival depends on delivery of service quality.

Strong cultural significance in uniform’s design

Malaysia Airlines’ kebaya uniform for their flight stewardesses incorporates batik and beautiful Sarawakian print technique that are uniquely Malaysia, according to Malaysian couturier Rizalman Ibrahim.

He was one of the local fashion designers who protested the change when Malaysia Airlines announced a uniform redesign for cabin crew and all its divisions last May.

The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam)  responded on Dec 12 in a statement warning against upsetting the current practice.

“Don’t let us disturb or interfere with what now exists.”

“If anyone wants to propose (wearing) the tudung, I think it’s better to form a new company that practises the shariah concept.”

It added that the proposal was inappropriate and infringed on the individual rights of employees.

Rising conservatism in Malaysia

Hanafi’s proposal came on the heels of various calls to the aviation industry in Malaysia to change to shariah-compliant practices.

The Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and several Muslim NGOs had earlier urged Malaysia Airlines to stop serving alcohol on its planes.

However, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai had responded in the Dewan Rakyat in August that serving alcohol during flights was up to the individual airlines.

Concerns about growing conservatism in Malaysia made headlines in 2015 when security guards at some government buildings went overboard in trying to enforce dress codes even on non-Muslim women.

Later in the same year, multi-medalled gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi was criticised by religious authorities and conservative netizens because she wore a “revealing” leotard.

Top image via Malaysia Airlines.

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