Those who find the attire of Malaysian flight attendants too revealing can just look away, Transport Minister Anthony Loke told Dewan Rakyat today.
The Seremban MP was responding to remarks by Datuk Che Abdullah Mat Nawi (PAS-Tumpat), who said the uniforms of flight attendants of Malaysian airlines were too sexy and revealing (menjolok mata) as compared to those of other international airlines.
“If we look at the uniform of local flight attendants, (it’s) too revealing, compared with their counterparts from the West.
“Those from the United States, we see them wearing pants, compared with the sexy attire worn by the (flight attendants of) airlines operating in Malaysia,” said Che Abdullah.
In reply, Loke said, “I cannot comment, this is subjective.”
“However, if Yang Berhormat feels that (their outfits) are revealing, then look away,” he added.
Loke’s answer courted laughter from the other lawmakers in the House, but Che Abdullah was not amused.
“I feel that the minister should be more responsible in his reply,” said Che Abdullah.
“I answered with responsibility,” replied Loke, who then moved on to another topic.
Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (PAS-Rantau Panjang) appeared to be unhappy with the minister’s answer.
“This is the same answer I heard in my tenure as three-term MP and two-term senator, (the ministers) are just repeating themselves and not making any changes,” she said.
“Can the revealing short skirt they wear ensure safety? I demand an answer,” she said.
Loke replied: “We realise there is nothing new in the answer as this is not a new policy. And, we have to plan to change the existing policy.”
He said airline companies are free to choose the uniform of their choice as long as it fulfils two criteria – the outfit is suitable to perform duties during emergency evacuations, and the decision is made by the companies to suit its corporate image.
When Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali (PAS-Kuala Nerus) asked if Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) plans to introduce a dress code that would allow Muslim stewardesses to don the hijab, Loke said he would need to discuss with MAB and reiterated that there would not be any change of policy for now.
“The ministry has no issue if Muslim flight attendants decide to wear clothes that are in line with shariah,” he said but added that it should fulfil the needs of the airline.
He added that the Baju Kebaya worn by MAB stewardesses showed the Malaysian identity to travellers.
He also said that airline companies are currently required to abide by the safety standards, which include emergency evacuation in a certain period of time, which has been set by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).