Malaysian women warned over lipstick, heels
Women's dress can lead to vice, city council says
A Malaysian city has urged Muslim women not to wear brightly colored lipstick, tight clothes or high-heeled shoes while working, an official said Tuesday.
"Nowadays the way women dress attracts unwanted attention. It could lead to all sorts of vice," said Azman Mohd Daham, public relations director of the city council in Kota Bharu, capital of conservative northern Kelantan state.
"We do not advocate tight clothes, too much lipstick or thick make-up, and even the headscarf should not be too transparent," he told AFP. "Women should dress modestly, this is what Islam requires."
The guidelines were sent to local businesses and shops last month, he said, but denied reports that anyone flouting the code faced a fine.
"If they want to follow what we advocate in the campaign, it is entirely their choice but we hope they do because this is the best for them."
"We do not punish anyone for wearing thick make-up or high-heel shoes, there are no fines either," he said, but added that Muslim women did face a fine if they failed to cover their heads with a scarf.
Kelantan has been run by the Islamic party PAS since 1990 and is the most conservative state in Malaysia. Like the rest of the country, it is dominated by Muslim Malays, but also home to ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.
The state's rulers have in the past made headlines with laws that require separate queues for men and women in shops, and for imposing fines on skimpy clothing.
However, in recent years the party has begun introducing reforms designed to tone down its hardline reputation and woo young voters.