Malaysian batik to be allowed in Parliament

Lawmakers will now be allowed to don Malaysian batik in Parliament, starting this Thursday.

Twentytwo13 was informed that Dewan Rakyat speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, is expected to make the announcement during today’s sitting.

The move comes after a brief meeting between Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri and Azhar, on Oct 4. Nancy had then submitted a proposal to allow MPs to wear Malaysian batik in Parliament.

Based on 41(f) of the Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Orders, male MPs shall “wear either the national dress or a lounge suit; female members shall wear either the national dress, sarong and a long-sleeved blouse, or a knee-length skirt and a long-sleeved blouse; and all members may also wear a ceremonial dress, or such other dress as may be permitted by the Tuan Yang di-Pertua.”

It is understood that the ruling, which will be made by Azhar, “would not be compulsory, nor mandatory”, and that MPs were free to wear Malaysian batik in the august house every Thursday.

The ruling is a win for the Malaysian batik industry as efforts to get MPs to wear the national art form had been raised numerous times in the past.

In 2019, PKR lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar, suggested that MPs wore batik in the Dewan Rakyat. She received support from MPs on both sides of the divide.

The dress code in Parliament hogged the limelight in 2006 when then Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister, Datuk Seri (now Tan Sri) Rais Yatim, wore a black Nehru collar-like shirt and a jacket to the august house.

Despite the hue and cry by other MPs, then Speaker Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib, did not object to Rais’ attire.

In fact, Ramli had then said: “It is an alternative attire, although there is no black and white (directive). No one is forced to wear it.”

On Sept 26, Twentytwo13 published an article, ‘In Parliament or taxis, it’s time we make Malaysian batik chic again’, stressing that batik was an art form that transcended status, colour and creed.

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