KUALA LUMPUR, April 28, 2010 (AFP) – Malaysia has launched pink women-only train coaches to prevent sexual harassment and to give Muslim women the option of travelling separately from men, officials said Wednesday.
Malaysian Railway offers the special service on a route between Kuala Lumpur and the western port city of Klang, and plans to expand it to another route in two weeks' time, acting general manager Mohamad Hider Yusof told AFP.
"We can improve the comfort and the safety of female passengers with this implementation and at the same time prevent sexual harassment," he added.
"We are a multiracial nation and the majority of the population are Muslims, so this initiative is also giving Muslim women an option to be separated from men while travelling."
"This is not a mandatory policy as women are still allowed to travel in the other coaches," he said, adding that reported sexual harassment cases on the train service was minimal.
More than 60 percent of Malaysia's 28 million population are Muslim Malays, and the population includes large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.
A northern state ruled by Malaysia's conservative Islamic party PAS has made headlines in the past with laws that require separate queues for men and women in shops, but the rules are not strictly enforced.
State authorities have also imposed fines on skimpy clothing, and discouraged women from wearing heavy make-up as well as high heels.