Lawyer: Parliament looked at wrong incident in skirt length issue

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 13 Apr 2017

Meera in her usual court attire that she wore to Parliament which saw her being barred by security personnel on April 6

PETALING JAYA: The Parliament investigation into the issue of a lawyer denied entry because of her skirt length looked into the wrong incident, Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) assistant treasurer Meera Samanther said.

According to her, the investigation only looked at the initial incident at the front gate, which she called a “non-issue”, and not the second incident, which was the focus of her complaint.

"The first checkpoint is the only incident that they referred to. They didn’t speak about the second checkpoint,” Meera told The Star Thursday.

"It (the first checkpoint) was a non-issue. No problem there. The second checkpoint was full of unpleasant events.

"Nothing about that was in the investigation report. That was what the whole issue was about,” she said.

The first checkpoint was the security office at the entrance to Parliament grounds. The second checkpoint, however, is located within the Parliament building where bags are scanned and visitors have to walk through metal detectors.

It was at this checkpoint, Meera said, that the length of her skirt became an issue, and so this incident should have been the subject of the investigation.

"The issue is the harassment. This moral policing on our attire has got to stop. It is an embarrassment for it to be pointed out like that," she said.

In a letter on Tuesday, Parliament's head of corporate communications Tengku Nasaruddin Tengku Mohamed said that investigations found that Meera had been initially denied entry as the security personnel did not have prior information of her attendance.

He said she was allowed in after they confirmed that she had an appointment with Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran.

On April 6, Meera went to Parliament to meet Kulasegaran and M. Indira Gandhi over the deferment of the debate on the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill to the next Parliament session.

She said security personnel told that her outfit, which she said was her usual court attire, was deemed “indecent”.

Tengku Nasaruddin said Indira’s daughter Tevi Darsiny had also been prevented from entering Parliament as she was in violation of the dress code by wearing tight pants and red trainers.

“However, she was eventually allowed entry after she changed shoes, and with the assurance of the Ipoh Barat MP who came to the main gate,” he said.

He added that the matter of WAO communications officer Tan Heang-Lee having to get out of her car to have her skirt inspected was not an issue as the security personnel were merely carrying out their duties.

“Parliament will not compromise on matters of security involving the admittance of visitors to the building and we will always ensure that visitors conform to the dress code in order to protect Parliament’s good name and reputation,” he said.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Meera said that any investigation into the matter should involve her.

“I could have pointed out to the investigators that they interviewed the wrong set of security guards and/or reviewed the wrong CCTV cameras. Sadly I was not contacted at all.

“Therefore, the investigation report is inaccurate and incomplete and completely misses the point,” she said.

Tengku Nasaruddin declined to comment on Meera’s latest statement.

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