The iconic red uniforms of low-cost carrier AirAsia’s female flight attendants have caught attention of Malaysia’s transport ministry that asked the airline on July 9 cryptically to “reassess the uniforms to better reflect the Malaysian culture,” but also noted that it would, on its side, “reassess” the airline’s license.
The matter emerged after a member of parliament of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz, noted in a parliamentary request that the airline’s uniforms were “sexy” and “did not reflect the national identity”. He then asked if dress code guidelines were imposed on the airline when its license was issued.
The bone of discontention seems to be that the red uniforms comprise tight skirts that end slightly above the knee, as well as contoured jackets over white blouses. AirAsia’ cabin crew, many of whom are Muslim Malays, this week won Investvine’s ranking of the most attractive stewardesses in ASEAN.
However, the ministry did not specify what would be appropriate.
“Airlines have to abide by the safety standards, among others, and comply with emergency evacuation in the allotted time, as set by the Civil Aviation Department and the International Civil Aviation Organisation,” the ministry said in its answering letter to parliament.
It added that airlines including AirAsia were “free to choose their uniforms as long as it complies with the criteria set by the authorities,” without specifying what the criteria is.