by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, October 12, 1991:
DAP welcomes denial by Kelantan State Government of compulsory Islamic dress code for non-Islamic women
DAP welcomes the clarification and denial by the Kelantan State Government that it would impose compulsory Islamic dress code for non-Muslim women.
DAP’s stand on non-Muslim rights is clear and unequivocal and we will continue to defend and protect their fundamental and constitutional right to be free from any compulsory Islamic code to be made applicable to them. This is because this will destroy the very basis of Malaysian nation-building as provided for in the constitution which provides for a secular and not a theocratic nation.
The DAP will openly and publicly oppose any attempt by any government, whether in Kelantan or elsewhere, to impose compulsory Islamic dress code for non-Muslim women or any other compulsory Islamic codes on non-Muslims – including initiating leag action to challenge the unconstitutionality of any such action as the DAP had done in the past.
In his denial and clarification in the New Straits Times, the Kelantan state Islamic Development, education and dakwah committee chairman, Haji Yahya Othman, said press reports quoting him as saying that all women , including non-Muslims, were required to adopt the Islamic dress code effective next year was untrue.
Haji Yahya said he advised non-Muslim women to dress decently while their Muslim counterparts adopt the Islamic dress code. He stressed that there was no intention of enforcing the Islamic dress code on non-Muslim women and Muslim women. Haji Yahya had himself admitted that it would be wrong to enforce such a dress code on non-Muslims as it would be an infringement of their rights.
While the DAP cannot and will not support the imposition of compulsory Islamic dress code for non-Muslim women, the DAP finds no difficulty in supporting the Kelantan State Government’s advice with regard to decency in dress for non-Muslim women.