Over the weekend, Malaysians expressed their discontent with the most recent dress code policy for Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s 50th convocation event on social media.
This began when a poster with the university’s logo indicating appropriate and inappropriate clothes for graduates and guests attending the convocation event went viral on Twitter, and the issue has been making headlines ever since.
Along with a short-sleeved blouse and knee-length pencil skirt ensemble, the saree and cheongsam, which are traditional attire for ethnic Chinese and Indian women, were included in the list of clothing that was prohibited.
Subsequently, Siti Kasim, a local lawyer and activist, criticised the university over the dress code rule. In a video she shared on her Facebook page, Siti stated that the institution was literally telling the graduates’ and their parents how to dress for the graduation ceremony.
“UKM’s act of dictating the attire that graduates and their parents can utilise wear for their convocation ceremony was just noticed. No saree or cheongsam, they say. What makes them believe they can tell us what clothing we can wear, especially when it comes to our traditional clothing? This offends me so much.
“Politicians, please speak up about this. This is excessive. I’m so enraged by the infiltration, surveillance, and control by these individuals. Rise up, folks. We must refuse this type of tyranny in our lives,” Siti stated, as reported by NST.
Male graduates are only permitted to dress in a lounge suit, a full baju melayu, or a long sleeve shirt with a tie and dark slacks, according to the flier. The only difference in the dress code for male visitors is that they are also permitted to wear a batik shirt.
Women graduates or visitors, on the other hand, may dress in a baju kurung, a loose kebaya, or a long-sleeved shirt or top with a dark-hued long skirt or gown. Shorts, jeans and short skirts are a few other examples of clothing that is prohibited.
Following the backlash, UKM has reportedly removed the flier from the site.