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PAS MP faces severe backlash over controversial remark on nurse attire

MALAYSIA — A Member of Parliament (MP) from one of Malaysia’s opposition parties has faced strong criticism from medical workers and their associations for his remark on the attire worn by female nurses in public healthcare facilities.

During a debate in Parliament on Thursday (15 June), Wan Razali Wan Nor, the MP representing Kuantan, highlighted that a significant number of female nurses dress in a manner that is considered “tight-fitting” and not in accordance with Sharia law.

Both the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) and the Malayan Nurses Union have strongly reacted to the statement made by Kuantan MP, Wan Razali Wan Nor.

Dr. Muruga Raj Rajathurai, President of the MMA, expressed his disappointment, stating, “Amid nationwide concern over the future and sustainability of our healthcare system, an MP is more concerned about the dress code of nurses.”

He emphasized that nurses in the public sector adhere to the dress code of civil servants and added, “We believe the current nurse uniforms set by the Health Ministry are practical and do not restrict movement during their duties.”

“In healthcare, everyone needs to be fast on their feet and, at times, ready to sprint to save lives.”

Nor Hayati Abd Rashid, President of the Malayan Nurses Union, highlighted that the uniforms nurses wear are designed to be functional and facilitate their duties.

According to Malaysian media outlet the New Straits Times,  Nor Hayati emphasized that the guidelines set by the Ministry ensure that the uniforms are not too tight, and the length of the top must be below the buttocks.

“There should be no issue with it being too tight. Our work involves us squatting down and lifting patients. Why would we want to wear tight uniforms?”

She further explained that the current uniforms have evolved over time to accommodate Muslim nurses and ensure Shariah compliance.

“That’s why nurses can wear their headscarves and are Shariah compliant; I don’t understand the issue of not being Shariah-compliant,” Nor Hayati told the press.

Former deputy health minister: PAS MP’s remark “unprofessional and politically motivated”

Dr Lee Boon Chye, the former deputy health minister, expressed his surprise on Facebook regarding the focus of the PAS MP on the cutting of nurse uniforms instead of engaging in important debates about healthcare reforms in the Healthcare White Paper.

“Why should the MP focus on the body shape of the nurses, and not their performance in caring for the patients?”

He also criticized Wan Razali’s remark as “unprofessional and politically motivated.”

Dr. Lee emphasized that the current uniforms worn by nurses, both in the public and private sectors, are comfortable, functional, and decent.

“It also allows some degree of variation with regard to designs to cater to each institution (hospital, clinics, etc) and cutting (tight or loose) to cater to individual preferences. ”

Netizens: there are more pressing issues in the healthcare sector

Other social media users also commented, questioning why the MP was raising concerns about nurse attire instead of addressing more pressing issues such as improving healthcare services, the salary and workload of medical workers, and the understaffing in public health facilities.

A Twitter user commented, “Dealing with PAS gives me a headache. We are busy fighting for the fate of contract doctors, the welfare of hospital workers, hospital facilities, and patient comfort, while PAS focuses on nurse attire.”

Another Twitter user pointed out the plight of nurses in Malaysia, highlighting that they are underpaid, overworked, and under-appreciated.

The user expressed their disappointment, stating, “Yet this man, who is paid big salaries to represent the interest of the public in the Parlimen, is scrutinizing what they are wearing. This is despicable.”

A netizen said, “Throughout my life, whenever I’ve been to clinics or hospitals, I’ve never focused on whether the nurse’s uniform is tight or not. It’s not my concern unless… flies are always drawn to something rotten.”

Another user commented that he had been to the University Malaya Specialist Centre (UMMC) last year but he did not recall seeing any tight-fitting dressed nurse, not even close to what air stewardesses wore.

Meanwhile, Zunar, the renowned Malaysian cartoonist, created a sarcastic comic that depicts a man with a large head, with a figure inside his brain resembling an attractive woman. The cartoon figure says, “I saw a sexy nurse.”

Zunar commented on the comic, stating, “The issue does not lie with the nurse’s attire; it lies within your brain!”


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