Views: Courtesy and Morality, Pride of us Malaysians – by Vaishnavi Gunasagaran


Few days back, viral image stirred up an uproar amongst most Malaysians, especially those constantly keeping an active tab on their social media pages. A mid aged Chinese auntie (or Ah Soh in local lingo) clad in an uber pink outfit was handed over a “sarong” in Road Transport Department (JPJ).

The “sarong” was handed to her for her to cover up the thighs and made pre requisite by JPJ in order for them to entertain her request to sign a car ownership transfer form.

The pictorial post drew much attention including Malaysians abroad. Groups of people posted their opinions online, some even made atrocious comments regarding Malaysia’s “gostan” motion. The question is, how do we segregate and brand a country’s development solely on the basis of choice of clothing? Does development actually means cutting inches off your skirts? As a fellow Malaysian, I believe we have a set of cultural norms and values to hold onto despite our catalysing development and modernisation. These norms lend a hand in preserving our rich and diversified cultural traditions.

JPJ, just like any other government institution, have got their own set of rules clearly displayed in each and every office in Malaysia. A proper guideline is provided to ensure the professionalism of both JPJ and their clients. It certainly shouldn’t hurt to cover a wee bit more, adhering to the outlined guide, which is also widely accepted in all government institution in Malaysia.

One may question the necessity of a clothing guideline. The answer is pretty basic and simple. Fold up your sleeves and look out for our National Principles or the Pillars of the Country. The formulation of the National Principle was a brainchild of the National Consultative Council headed by Tun Abdul Razak.

The aim of our National Principle is to create harmony and unity among the various races in Malaysia (Jeong & Nor Fadzlina, 2012; 2007). The last verse on our National Principle reads; Courtesy and Morality.

Modesty is our true value. Core values don’t transform with technological advancement and modernisation. We can always adapt and adopt ourselves to be more consistent with time, but we should still fit into the values we truly belong.

As Malaysians, we pledged to emulate harmony amongst us. Liberal approach is good and it’s certainly amazing to see many of us thinking out of the box, but make sure to take great care not to let your brains fall out of the box.


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