Letter to Editor
By Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Kuala Lumpur
KOTA KINABALU: The Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has indeed echoed the sentiments of many netizens who had questioned the actions of some overzealous security personnel who had barred a member of the public from entering a police station for wearing what they considered to be inappropriate attire.
People who go to police stations are usually in some emergency situation and their plight should be addressed quickly, regardless of their attire or any other consideration.
The Minister, as well as the former Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan had pointed out that the primary duty of the police is to protect the people and not be the determinants of what constitutes proper attire.
To insist on a dress code does not come within the purview of the ordinary police
The job of a government official is to serve the public. That’s why they are also referred to as civil servants.
Recently, a woman went to the Kajang police headquarters to report a road accident, but was refused entry by a sentry.
A woman who sought treatment at Kampar hospital was turned away for a similar reason.
There are puritanical people who want to impose their views on the public without considering the consequences.
While their motivation is understandable, their actions are indefensible.
The office of the Chief Secretary to the Government should once and for all come out with proper written guidelines on the priorities of public officials and not leave it to security officials to make arbitrary decisions.
That is a sure way of fostering a caring and compassionate society and ensuring adherence to the fifth principle of Rukun Negara which emphasizes courtesy and morality.
Of course, one infringes the morality code if one’s attire or behaviour is generally considered offensive.
It should not be left to a sentry or a security guard to determine what is indecent or offensive.
That responsibility rests with senior officials who should have clear and written guidelines on what is acceptable and what is not.
But these guidelines should not apply to those who seek help from the police or from hospitals in emergency situations.
In non-emergency situations, these guidelines should be enforced with compassion, understanding and courtesy
In other words, offer the services first, and then advice the public to observe the dress code the next time.