Malaysia Airports apologises after man's shorts deemed inappropriate for retrieving lost luggage

Kuala Lumpur International Airport's baggage services' Lost and Found area.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport's baggage services' Lost and Found area. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) has apologised to a male passenger who was forced to wear long black pants and shoes because his knee-length pink shorts and sandals was deemed inappropriate at Kuala Lumpur International Airport's baggage services' Lost and Found area.

On May 7, businessman Wilson Ng, who had gone to pick up his luggage which he had accidentally left at the baggage carousel following a trip to Taipei with his family, was told to go back home and change because of his attire.

"I was shocked and upset. However, I calmed down and tried to reason with him. First of all, KLIA is never near my home and secondly when I called up the number a day before there was nothing mentioned about the dress code.

The pair of shorts that Mr Ng was wearing. PHOTO: PLACESANDFOODS.COM

"We had a discussion and I make sure I didn't raise my voice and he asked me to visit the security office. In my mind, I just want to collect my bag and leave and I don't want any troubles or arguments, I just want to get my bag and that's all," he said in a blog post.

Mr Ng added that he had to borrow a pair of black pants from the security office in order to retrieve his luggage.

When contacted by the Malay Mail Online, he questioned the neccessity of enforcing this rule: "I find wearing smart casual just to take the bag is unnecessary as I am not meeting any officials but just to retrieve my bag.

"They kept telling me its rules so its not up to them to decide so I don't want to argue as they are just working following rules. These rules are stipulated by MAHB and not Malaysia Airlines," he told the Malay Mail Online.

"I think it is unnecessary to have such rule. We are just going to take the bag and not for official visit and such. The office is near the luggage collecting area so why do we need to be formal?"

In a press statement on Friday, MAHB stated that it has investigated the matter and found it to be due to miscommunication on the implementation of a policy pertaining to the issuance of visitor passes at the airport.

"First and foremost, the dress code applies for public requesting for visitor passes to enter the terminal for any official visits or work purposes.

"However, the dress code does not apply to passengers passing through our airports.

"In this case, we regret that the confusion on the dress code requirement arose as a result of Mr Ng applying for a visitor pass to re-enter the terminal to go to the Malaysia Airlines' Lost & Found office which is located at the airside area of the terminal," said MAHB.

"We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Mr Ng for any inconvenience caused during the incident," the company said.

This is the first report of a man encountering such a situation.

On Thursday morning, a woman was alleged to have been denied entry into the Balik Pulau court complex in Penang on account of her knee-length skirt being too short.

Two other incidents were reported this week - at the Selangor State Secretariat building, when two women were forced to wear sarongs to enter the building, and when a woman was stopped for wearing shorts at the Sungai Buloh hospital and made to don a towel.

In another incident on June 8, a woman was denied entry to the Gombak Road Transport Department (JPJ) office for wearing a skirt above her knee and was asked to wear a sarong.