‘Sexy’ school uniforms to stay, says Malaysian minister

May 26th, 2008 - 11:33 am ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, May 26 (IANS) There will be no change in the uniform worn by girls in Malaysia’s government schools although a students’ body has said the dress distracted men, and encouraged rape and pre-marital sex. Education Minister Hishamuiddin Tun Hossein Sunday said the uniform would “probably not change much in the next few years”.

On May 21, Munirah Bahari, vice president of the National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia, said: “The white blouse is too transparent for girls and it becomes a source of attraction”. She even said that girls deliberately wore the dresses “to lure men”.

In multicultural Malaysia, home to majority-Muslim Malays as well as ethnic Chinese and Indians, girl students in government schools have a choice of wearing a white blouse with a knee-length skirt or pinafore. They may also wear a baju kurung, the traditional Malay dress, and a headscarf is optional for Malay students.

While calling for review of the uniform policy so that it did not violate Islamic ideals, Bahari said that “covering up” according to Islamic precepts was important to fend off social ills, including “rape, sexual harassment and even premarital sex”.

Hossein said he personally felt it was unfair to blame the students or their uniforms for sexual crimes committed against them, The Star reported Monday.

“It is unfair to punish women and children for the clothes they wear for the act of the rapist,” he said, adding that he could not allow such stereotyping to continue.

“Clothing is not the main consideration for those who commit despicable acts,” Hossein said.

The minister said that although he believed changing the uniform would not reduce sexual crimes committed against schoolgirls, he would refer the matter to experts within his ministry before making a decision.

Bahari’s comments invoked widespread condemnation from teachers, students, NGOs and social acvitists across Malaysia last week.

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