Malaysian town to enforce ban on 'sexy' dress

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - A town in Muslim-majority Malaysia has threatened to fine non-Muslim women for wearing revealing clothes, angering women's groups and some politicians.

Authorities in northeast Kota Baru, which calls itself an Islamic city, will slap fines of up to 500 ringgit ($140) on women who expose navels, wear body-hugging outfits, mini-skirts or see-through blouses, the Star newspaper said on Tuesday.

"Such outfits are prohibited here as it smears the reputation of Kota Baru and affects its status as an Islamic city," the Star quoted municipal council spokesman Azman Daham as saying.

The council's decision to use an existing by-law against indecent dress to curb non-Muslim fashions has infuriated some women's groups. In Malaysia, almost half the population is non-Muslim and the national government is secular.

"It is not the job of the council to become the 'moral police'," Honey Tan, head of the All-Women's Action Society, told the Star.

The opposition Democratic Action Party, made up of mostly ethnic Chinese, said the move was unacceptable.

"Such moral policing of what non-Muslim women wear can be regarded as a transgression of non-Muslim rights as they should not be subjected to Islamic moral code of conduct," DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng said in a statement.

Kota Baru is capital of Kelantan state, which is run by another opposition party, Parti Islam se Malaysia, whose official platform is to turn the country into an Islamic state.