A recent news report about a woman using a cushion cover to extend her skirt and cover half her calf so she could enter a police station drew much laughter. It did too at the police station in Perak.
But what exactly is taking root in Malaysia, which proudly showcased to the world a tolerant culture in past decades?
We have been bombarded with racially skewed perceptions, arguments and political inroads along the ethnic ‘Malay-Chinese-Indian’ divides.
And now even rigid dress codes are snowballing into an alarming concern.
What exactly is taking root in this multicultural and multi-religious country, which once grew on its strength of harmonious diversity?
Take this latest incident of the enforced dress code at the police station in Perak. Pray tell, what difference does it make between a knee-length dress and one that must cover at least half the calf?
The answer lies in the question: are we unsuspectingly but strategically becoming an intolerant and extreme nation?
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Is there a hidden plan at work to enforce one stereotype culture and thinking nationwide?
Our rulers have repeatedly advised and even warned the nation about the need to preserve our diversity with respect and acceptance.
But the ground is shifting in a singular direction, going by the dress codes being enforced and the political mantras being dished out by politicians.
Comments like a certain group is “under threat” or another group is “on the rise” have increased. Social media is being exploited to flood the landscape with such divisive fear-mongering.
Even in general and state elections, many candidates are not selected based on their capability or integrity. Instead, it is often race and religion that is the yardstick for selection.
Even voters are enticed with racial and religious bait.
So we cannot dismiss or foolishly laugh off at what is seeping in the country.
The dress codes being enforced here, there and everywhere may be the very straw that unlocks the floodgates to destroy our competitive blessing – a multicultural and multi-religious nation.
Such a nation could offer great lessons of unity, diverse experiences and happy encounters to visitors and investors from all over the world. The choice is ours.