No reason for public to be turned away when dealing with authorities: Lam Thye

GEORGE TOWN: There is no reason for the public to be turned away when dealing with the authorities as long as they are decently dressed, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The chairman of the Alliance for A Safe Community said, as long as it was a decent attire, even if it meant wearing shorts, they should be allowed to deal with the authorities.

"For example, you don't expect people to wear long trousers or fully dressed when they go to hospitals. This is because when they are sick, they can't think about their dressing.

"Similarly, when there are police reports to be lodged, of course they will do it immediately rather than going home and getting changed first before lodging the reports," he told the New Straits Times.

In this regard, Lee commended Penang police chief, Datuk Khaw Kok Chin, for his instant and immediate reaction to a public complaint, that he was turned away from a police station for wearing shorts while trying to lodge a police report.

He said Khaw had set a very good example in giving an immediate reaction to such a complaint and to refute, if at all, any of such a decision (on dress code issue).

"Of course this may be an isolated case, but the very fact that the state police chief has taken on giving his personal responsibility to react, I think it's something that is good.

"It will help to allay the fears of the public and 'm sure the public will be relieved to learn that there is no such policy that people must be turned away because they wear shorts," he added.

Lee said, as far as he was concerned, there was a problem with the dress code issue, adding that there had been multiple similar situations in the past in various government departments where even the security guards took it upon themselves to make such a decision.

He said the security guards had used their discretion (to make such a decision), which they were not supposed to (turn people away).

"I think it's very important what Khaw had said. He sent a message to all as far as lodging police reports are concerned that it is proper even if they wear shorts.

"I think this should be a very important message to all when it comes to dealing with the authorities when making police reports.

"It is that nature of time that is very important. They must make a report instantly so that at least action can be taken rather than lodge a report later and police will have difficulty in dissolving the case," he stressed.

Yesterday, state police said they were investigating and looking into claims made by a man who was turned away from a police station for wearing shorts to lodge a theft report.

Khaw said that they were investigating the matter and taking appropriate action as checks showed the instruction (to change into long trousers) came from a sentry (volunteer police) on duty.

He had said that a person's dress code was not what determined whether he/she could lodge a report at any police station.

He had also said that the priority of the police was to accept a report lodged by a complainant so that necessary action could be taken.

The complainant in question, Winson Shim, had shared his experience through a post on the "We Love Bukit Tambun" Facebook page which then went viral.

He wrote that he was asked by the sentry at the Simpang Ampat police station to go home and change into long trousers before he could lodge a report about his car window being smashed and his personal belongings missing in an incident in Bukit Tambun on Thursday evening.

When contacted today, Khaw told the NST "let our police do the internal check."

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