said that the requirement for female journalists to don headscarves and barring skirts and dresses was discriminatory.
“The choice of personal clothing is a fundamental and individual right. This is a clear example of PAS depriving people of their personal liberties.
“In a multiracial country, I absolutely respect the Muslim dress code, but we also want PAS to respect the non-Muslim customs and choices,” she said.
Chew said that the rule shows that PAS held “extreme beliefs” and are “controlling individual rights”
PAS denied today that it had set rules forcing non-Muslim female journalists to wear headscarves when covering the party’s 57th muktamar this week.
PAS election committee chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Rahman told The Malaysian Insider that he had not issued such a directive and refuted reports carried yesterday in the Chinese media.
“As far as I know, there is no such condition,” he said when contacted.
Committee officials later confirmed with The Malaysian Insider that only Muslim journalists are required to wear tudungs (Muslim headscarf) during the muktamar while the non-Muslims must dress neatly in non-revealing clothes.
“Both men and women are not allowed to wear shorts and t-shirts while the women cannot wear revealing clothes. Non-Muslim women are not required to wear headscarves,” said an official.
According to a report in the Chinese-language section of an online news portal yesterday, PAS had issued a circular ordering all non-Muslim female journalists to wear headscarves and forbidding them from wearing dresses and skirts.
The report irked Wanita MCA secretary-general Senator Chew Lee Giok who likened the rule today as a form of “extremism, conservatism and discrimination against women”.
“They are acting in a power-hungry manner and do not respect other religions and races,” she said in a statement.
She accused PAS of being a “pseudo-democratic” party and argued that while she agreed that reporters should be dressed neatly for all functions, their choice of clothing is a fundamental and individual right.
“I feel the PAS cannot rush to conclusions about female reporters who do not wear headscarves. It cannot be assumed they are not respectful or do not have modesty if they do not wear a headscarf,” she said.