by DAP National Organizing Secretary and Member of Parliament for Cheras, Tan Kok Wai
in Petaling Jaya
on 20th April 2002
Government Should Reconsider Separate Pools Ruling
DAP urges the PAS-led Terengganu State Government to immediately reconsider and drop its plan to impose dress code for tourist and new rulings for new hotels to build separate swimming pools for men and women. DAP views this new ruling as unfair and insensitive to the rights of non-Muslims and totally unnecessary as it will further strengthen the impression of PAS among non-Muslims of being fundamentalist, anti-modernity and intolerant.
The State Government must
realize that Terengganu is a famous tourist destination especially for its
island resorts and beautiful beaches among local and foreign tourists. The new
rulings will definitely give a negative image to foreign tourists for being
conservative and will cause unnecessary inconvenience to them. Many newly-wed
couples go to these islands for their honeymoon and family members for their
family vacations. Swimming is one of the most common activities in islands
resorts and separating men and women with different swimming pools by force is
akin to disallowing them to have fun together. If the State Government can
impose such a ruling for swimming pools, are they going to implement a similar
ruling for beaches by dividing it for men and women? This is downright
Imposing dress code for tourists
including the ban on bikinis is a step in the direction of violating individual
rights, insensitive to women and further imposing the Islamic way of life on
non-Muslims in the state. This is definitely not a healthy development for a
multi-racial and multi-religious society in Malaysia. The way of dressing must
be a personal choice and itís the right and moral authority of individuals to
dress according to their own choice. The blame on women for their way of
dressing as the reason for sexual harassments and rape cases is unfair to women.
Itís the responsibility of the government to educate the society and
strengthen moral values among men in order to control their sexual desire and
respect women. This process must start from a young age.
Therefore, DAP urges the PAS Terengganu Government to be more liberal and forward-looking in governing and developing the state. They should know that imposing controversial rulings that will affect the rights of non-Muslims such as this will further give opportunity to Barisan Nasional to paint them as an Islamic-fundamentalist party. In view of this, DAP calls upon the other 2 component parties in the Barisan Alternatif, namely Parti Keadilan Nasional and Parti Rakyat Malaysia, to persuade PAS to review the ruling.