Authorities in a northern Malaysian city have forbidden Muslim women from wearing bright lipstick and noisy high-heeled shoes, saying the directive is intended to prevent sexual assaults and "illicit sex."
The national news agency, Bernama, said the directive was issued by the municipal council of Kota Baru and is aimed toward Muslim women working in restaurants and other businesses in the city. It said the ban will safeguard the morals and dignity of the women as well as thwart rape.
"It states that Muslim women are forbidden to wear thick make-up, like bright colored lipstick and high-heeled shoes that gave a tapping sound," the news agency said.
"For those who insist on wearing high heel shoes, they can do so but with rubber heels."
Kota Baru already has a directive calling for Muslim women to wear non-transparent headscarves that cover the chest, long-sleeved and loose blouses and socks.
Anyone not following the regulations can be fined up to 500 ringgit ($153), Bernama said.
Malaysia, a multi-racial society containing many ethnic groups, considers itself a moderate Muslim country. Muslims comprise about 60 percent of the population. Buddhists, Christians and Hindus who also make up the religious make up of the country do not face restrictions on clothing or practices.
The city of Kota Baru is the capital of of Kelantan state, which is ruled by the hard-line opposition party, Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).
At one time, the party advocated for an Islamic state, but has backed away from the stance in recent months.
PAS was part of a loose coalition of opposition parties that won control of five of the country's 13 states in national elections held in March 2008.
The coalition also won 82 of 222 parliamentary seats -- making it only the second time in the southeast Asian country's history that the ruling party has failed to gain the two-thirds majority needed to amend the constitution.
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