Monday, December 09, 2019

House speaker tells MPs to focus on behaviour, not clothing

Jul 07. 2019
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By The Nation

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Lower house speaker Chuan Leekpai has intervened in a bitter row over the dress code in Parliament, advising MPs they should focus on their behaviour and effectiveness as politicians rather than their choice of clothes.

"No matter what clothes a person chooses to wear, they must perform their duties and deliver results while also respecting the importance of the occasion and the place," the veteran politician said.

Chuan said the House of Representatives would discuss the matter of MPs' attire on Wednesday, after which a committee would be assigned to provide clear guidelines.

"In the past, MPs' attire varied but all of them were sensitive to what was appropriate according to time and place. MPs are adults, and I believe they already know what is regarded as appropriate. So the focus should be on their behaviour or what they actually do," he added.

Batting away complaints in Parliament, Chuan stated he supported the right of MPs to wear traditional Thai attire in meetings, and revealed moves to mandate the traditional dress code on one day per week. He pointed out that while Western-style suits were not obligatory, they are considered appropriate dress in Parliament and are commonly worn by male and even female MPs.

So far only one member – Future Forward Party’s party-list MP Chulapan Nonsrichai – had requested special permission for their attire in Parliament, said Chuan. Chulapan, who has a physical disability, had asked for permission to wear shorts in meetings.

Chuan also confirmed he had forwarded a petition from Pheu Thai Party politicians to the Constitutional Court calling for PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha to be disqualified as a Cabinet member since he is also a state official. The petition was signed by 100 MPs, not 101 as previously reported due to a name redundancy.

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