Offensive Directive to Not Wear Sari by Ipoh City Council (Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh)

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July 1, 2016

Press Release 

GOPIO is concerned on the directive by Ipoh City Council in an invitation which it issued instructing its staffs not to wear Sari to one of the City Council programmes.

Copy of the invitation which went viral on social media had instructions on dress code, whereby the Malays were requested to wear ‘baju kebangsaan’, while the Chinese, Indians and others were instructed to wear their traditional attires, except Sari.

Some leaders and NGOs have voiced shock and concern over the issue. Many comments on social media urged people to lodge police reports and even boycott the event.

The Ipoh City Council has since come out to modify the meaning of its earlier directive with some non-convincing explanations. In a statement the Council said that ‘except Sari’ actually meant that guests can wear ‘Sari, office attire or anything appropriate’. It appears as though words are being manipulated. GOPIO requests the City Council not to repeat errors of this nature, which has caused hurt to Malaysian Indians.

The Sari is the traditional attire of the women of Indian origin, in use for more than five thousand years. The origin of the Sari can be traced back to the beginning of the cotton industry and the great Indus Civilisation. Sari is unique to the people from the Indian Subcontinent and is recognised worldwide. It is also worn by women of other cultures and has a strong global appeal and recognition.

Government agencies must understand that the Sari is the Indian women’s traditional attire and is a part of the Malaysian culture, in accordance to the Federal Constitution.

Sari is the universal symbol for the Indian woman. GOPIO calls upon Malaysian Indian women to adorn Sari to all public events as Sari is the identity and pride of the Indian Community.

A.Ravendiran Arjunan
GOPIO Malaysia.