Zamri (second from left) and Ipoh City Council secretary Mohd Zakuan Zakaria (left) chatting with some Indian staff dressed in sarees during the Raya gathering. — Picture by Farhan Najib 

Despite the controversial saree issue, the Ipoh City Council’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri gathering saw Indian ladies glittering in colourful sarees.

The council’s community development department assistant director Kasturi Murugiah, 40, said she was happy the council did not prevent Indian staff from wearing their traditional attire.

“The council’s initial statement, which said Indians should not wear saree for the event, was only meant for the ground workers as they have to continue their work after the event,” said Kasturi, who was dressed in a blue saree.

“The statement had no ill intention and it was intended only to make it easier for the workers.”

Kasturi also said the mayor had apologised.

Last week, an image of the invitation card to the council’s Raya gathering went viral on social media platforms.

The card specified Malay attendees could wear “baju kebangsaan” (national attire) while others could wear their respective traditional clothes, except the saree.

Librarian Uthira Kumari, 46, said the workers were happy the issue was resolved after a discussion with the council.

“The council explained the situation to us in a good manner and we were allowed to wear the saree for this function,” she said.

Another librarian Pathma Devi, 57, said she held no grudge against her boss over the issue.

“We (the Indian staff) have no grudge against our boss as he is a very nice person. There was also no misunderstanding with the mayor regarding the issue,” she said.

“Outsiders got the situation wrong when it went viral in social media.”

Mayor Datuk Zamri Man said he was delighted to see some of his Indian staff clad in sarees.

“The important thing for me is to see them smiling and mingling at the gathering.”

On June 25, the initial invitation was withdrawn and the council issued another statement on the same day, which did not specify any particular dress code for the event as long as it adhered to the official government dress code.

In the same statement, the council also apologised for the misunderstanding.

Source –Malay Mail Online-

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